By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – The city council discussed amendments to city ordinances that would regulate medical marijuana and transportation at its July 11 study session prior to a July 18 council meeting vote.
The ordinances under consideration by the council are modeled on wording used by the city of Allen Park.
The ordinances address regulation of the location and operation of medical marijuana caregivers within the city, and the transportation and possession of usable marijuana within the city.
A caregiver facility is where a legally registered primary caregiver may lawfully assist up to five qualifying patients, and is registered with the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Qualified patients are people with valid registration cards from MDCH allowing them to possess and purchase medical marijuana.
The city ordinance would restrict primary caregivers growing marijuana for more than one patient to the city’s M-2 general industrial zoning district, and may not be within 1,500 feet of a residential zoning district. They would have to be 1,000 feet from a school, 500 feet from any religious institution, and 500 feet from a public park, building or recreation area frequented by minors.
The ordinance also addresses the locked storage of the marijuana, grow light shielding, and bans alcohol sales and consumption at a caregiver’s facility.
Primary caregivers growing and dispensing medical marijuana in a residential district for one patient only would be subject to different restrictions.
No outdoor storage of anything associated with the medical marijuana would be allowed, and no sales would be allowed in the residential district, and no sign displayed.
The proposed ordinance states that the activity may not generate offensive odors, reduce neighborhood property values, must be 1,000 feet from any school and may not be within 500 feet of a religious institution or public park or building commonly used by children. Caregivers must be more than 500 feet apart.
Transportation of medical marijuana must be enclosed in a case in the trunk of a vehicle, or in an area not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle if there is no trunk.
At the study session July 11, James Trombley said he knows people who need medical marijuana, but he is concerned about possible abuse of medical marijuana by young people.
“You have the younger kids that can run down to Detroit, see a doctor for a couple hundred bucks, and get the medical marijuana card,” he said. “Then they can smoke it as free as they want, when they want. Do they have to smoke it in their house? Can they go into their yard and smoke it? Chief, you know exactly who I am talking about, too.”
Police Chief Clifford Rosebohm said the issue concerns private property and people with a medical marijuana card, so they can use it in the manner described.
City Manager Doug Drysdale said a provision of the proposed ordinance is that odors that neighbors detect and object to would not be allowed.
“I have my granddaughter over, and one of the neighbors around me is smoking that stuff,” Trombley said, “and my granddaughter’s got to smell that. That’s bull. She shouldn’t have to be exposed to that.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)