City places moratorium on medical marijuana

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — No new applications for medical marijuana-related businesses will be accepted here for the next six months.

Councilors voted unanimously Feb. 8 to pass a resolution instituting a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana facilities, citing the uncertainty they and other municipalities have regarding how to regulate such facilities. The moratorium took effect immediately following the council’s approval.

The resolution also cited a pending lawsuit involving Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills regarding the Michigan law approving medical marijuana, which passed in 2008.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in December on behalf of a Birmingham couple who said their rights were violated by an anti-medical marijuana ordinance the city passed. It also asks Livonia and Bloomfield Hills to repeal similar ordinances.

Mayor Gary Burtka said the moratorium will allow for resolution of that pending litigation in order to ensure “cohesive and sensible” land use regulations and allow city officials to further study the matter.

The moratorium will not affect any current medical marijuana facilities in the city, council members said, but Building Official David Boomer said no such facilities exist in the city, and that the Planning Commission has received no applications regarding medical marijuana-related businesses.

“If someone is operating a business in that regards, I don’t know about it,” Boomer said.

Patrick Kruse, of the city’s law firm Flood Lanctot Connor Stablein PLLC, who acted as city attorney at the meeting, said applications for home-based facilities also will fall under the moratorium. The moratorium, which is similar to ones placed by many communities in the area, is also necessary because the law is not clear as to how home-based facilities should be regulated, he said.

“Once we have better guidance, we will make a decision on how to regulate this in the city,” Kruse said.

The council also recognized the “hardship” the delay could cause some applicants.

A public hearing at a City Council meeting will be available for any property owner who believes the moratorium has caused a denial of all economic use of the property.

Copies of the resolution will be available at the City Clerk’s Office.