Douglas' Ordinance On Medical Marijuana Is "Unenforceable", Concede City Officials
The current Douglas city ordinance is “unenforceable” when it comes to medical marijuana, city officials announced at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
“Even if we didn’t want to allow it in residential areas, we couldn’t enforce it because of state law,” Douglas City Zoning Administrator and Community Development Director Lisa Imus told The Local Observer on Tuesday.
That report came as a result of Tammy Jacobi, a medical marijuana advocate and grower, applying with the city for a caregiver permit two weeks ago.
Douglas council members ended up tabling the request on grounds it first needed to ask the city attorney his opinion.
In 2013, Douglas went about regulating medical marijuana by limiting the type of zoning it could take place in, but officials wanted to know how State of Michigan court rulings since then factor into the city’s existing regulation.
“After discussions with legal counsel (Rhonda Stowers of Plunkett Cooney), they have advised us that our current ordinance regarding medical marijuana is unenforceable,” Imus wrote to council in a December 29 memo.
“Since the adoption of the ordinance (in 2013), various court rulings have determined that a licensed caregiver, supplying marijuana to a qualifying patient, cannot be regulated by zoning or any other local ordinance on private property. As long as the patients/caregivers are fully licensed and under the 72 plant limit (for up to five qualifying patients) they may grow and distribute marijuana in any zoning area,” Imus wrote.
This new city position means that Jacobi can indeed “grow and distribute to those five patients anywhere on private property in the City of Douglas, regardless of zoning or city approval,” as long as she is a State of Michigan licensed caregiver.
The citizen-initiated law of 2008 (MMMA) allows patients—and registered caregivers to provide to those patients—to use marijuana for specified medical conditions (it allows five patients).
On Sept. 21, 2016 Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law MMFLA, meant to, among other things, allow for medical marijuana dispensaries.
However, dispensaries will have to wait for a whole a year to get their permits because the state still has to establish the licensing system required by the Act.
“I have been a caregiver in Michigan since 2011. I have grown in various places throughout southwest Michigan and have not stopped growing since I began,” Jacobi has told The Local Observer.
“I specialize in growing high CBD strains used to treat epilepsy and chronic pain,” added Jacobi.
“I have an 80-year-old patient that has degenerative joint disease, two patients with Crohn’s disease and a patient with epilepsy.”