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Medical marijuana subject to scrutiny by municipalities



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May 26, 2010
TRI-CITY AREA — Officials are taking steps to ensure adequate oversight of any medical marijuana dispensaries wishing to open within their jurisdictions.

Local municipalities have been on the defense since the recent opening of a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Dryden.

Last Tuesday, Imlay City Mayor Pro-tem Marty Rankin urged the city's planning commission to consider an ordinance governing such establishments.

"I'd like to see us put something into place to have these restricted and controlled," said Rankin. "If they come in and we don't have anything on the books, we could find ourselves scrambling."

The matter was placed on the Planning Commission agenda and was expected to be the subject of discussion at the meeting yesterday evening, May 25.

The city is also taking a proactive approach to oversight of a medical marijuana exposition to be held this summer at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.

On August 21-22, the publishers of Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine are sponsoring "Extravaganja" at the fairgrounds. The event will include educational speakers, growing experts, business vendors, food, live music and a medication tent that will be restricted to qualified patients and their caregivers.

Imlay City Police Chief John Stano said he plans to meet with Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh, Eastern Michigan Fair Board Manager Ian Kempf and Extravaganja organizers to establish protocol for the event.

"We'll look at the legal language and research how things have worked at these kinds of events in other jurisdictions," said Stano. "We want to ensure that all legalities are upheld."

In the Village of Almont, Clerk/Treasurer and Acting Manager Sally McCrea said the village has agreed to recognize a temporary "moratorium" before enacting an ordinance for dispensaries.

"We're setting up a committee to meet and discuss putting an ordinance in place," said McCrea. "I think we want to make sure we protect our school children and establish some parameters."

The committee will consist of Police Chief Pat Nael and village council members Steve Schneider, Tim Dyke and Rick Lauer.

In Imlay Township, board members agreed May 19 to have their attorney, Michael Gildner, send a draft zoning ordinance to the township planner for review.

Gildner had compiled similar language related to medical marijuana dispensaries for another local municipality.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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