Grand Blanc Planning Commission Discusses Medical Marijuana

By Allison Bush, Originally published September 17 in Mlive.com for Flint Journal

GRAND BLANC, Michigan —City officials are discussing how to regulate medical marijuana in the community.

“The issue of medical marijuana is really getting to be a huge issue in the state of Michigan,” said City Manager Randall Byrne. “We probably need to do something quickly.”

The Grand Blanc Planning Commission recommended that City Council place a 90-day moratorium on any kind of action on medical marijuana at its meeting Tuesday.

The City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 29.

Brian Borden, the city’s planner, said a moratorium would allow the city time to investigate what it would like to do with regards to medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana was legalized by Michigan voters in 2008 and went into effect in April 2009. However, it has not been legalized by the federal government, and communities have taken different approaches to deal with the issue.

Some communities have created their own ordinances to regulate the use of medical marijuana, while some communities have done nothing, Borden said.

Atlas Township officials placed a moratorium on medical marijuana in April.

“It’s still in place —it gives the Planning Commission time to develop an ordinance to regulate it, while we don’t have to worry about any problems,” Atlas Township Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones said.

And Grand Blanc Township approved an ordinance in January that limits the area where medical marijuana can be distributed to the township’s health district, which is the area surrounding Genesys Regional Medical Center.

Businesses distributing medical marijuana also cannot be within 500 feet of any religious institutions, schools, parks or residential areas.

For the city of Grand Blanc to adopt an ordinance regarding medical marijuana, there would have to be a public hearing at the Planning Commission before a proposed ordinance would go before City Council for several readings.

“Whatever route we go, I think we need to move quickly,” Byrne said.

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