Douglas Officials - Like Many In State - Unsure How To Deal With New Medical Marijuana Law
Douglas city officials say they are unsure of how to proceed when it comes to medical marijuana, but so are many other communities across the state of Michigan.
Douglas city staff discussed the issue during Monday’s meeting, updating Douglas council members about a scheduled joint meeting involving the council and planning commission at the beginning of July to mull over current legislation and possible strategies going forward, locally, on the issue.
Before that though, on June 20 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a medical marijuana dispensary panel discussion especially designed for township and city officials at Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, MI. Local government representatives from the area are encouraged to attend and the discussion will be rendered from the perspective of law enforcement, according to Douglas Community Development Director Lisa Imus.
“I am getting a lot of calls from the other party wanting an opportunity to give their side of things (in public formats),” said Imus about local medical marijuana proponents, including prospective caregivers and dispensaries.
In January, council voted to repeal the only ordinance the city had regarding medical marijuana and enacted a moratorium on enforcement, citing incompatibility with new state of Michigan regulations and court orders.
“You have five components of the new law (P.A. 281, which the state legislature passed last year, and created five classes of licenses: growers, the seed-to-sale tracking, dispensaries, testing facilities, and transporters) that will boil down into two (as it relates to possible municipal ordinances): commercial and manufacturing,” Imus continued.
More information on the June 20 panel discussion event can be obtained via Heidi Denton at (269) 673-6617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the upcoming public meetings, from what city staff said Monday night will be about what is going on at the state legislature, there isn’t much the city can move forward on.
“Nobody (municipalities across the state) wants to adopt any ordinances not knowing how the state is going to administer things; it’s a Catch-22,” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere.
He said the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has so far been unsuccessful in providing clarification or has missed some details when it comes to existing medical marijuana law.
The citizen-initiated law of 2008 (MMMA) produced confusion among affected parties, including local governments which were left not knowing how to decipher certain designations (i.e., caregiver, dispensary, etc.), much less know how to enforce the law. It also caused legal and interpretation battles.
P.A. 281, an update to medical marijuana legislation, was meant to fill the legal holes ensued from the 2008 MMMA.