FLINT, MI — It took several years to accomplish, but the City Council has finally approved an ordinance that governs Flint’s medical marijuana dispensaries.
The council voted 7-2 to approve the language after a second reading on Monday, Sept. 23, which mandates that dispensaries be more than 1,000 feet from any church, park or school — twice the current requirement.
“You can tweak it, turn it over, you’re still going to (have a situation where) nobody is ever going to be happy no matter how you turn it,” said 2nd Ward Councilwoman Jackie Poplar.
Council members Eric Mays and Wantwaz Davis cast the lone votes against a pair of ordinances related to dispensaries and zoning requirements for the businesses.
Mays, who represents that city’s 1st Ward, said he still had questions about the new regulations, while Davis, who represents Ward 5, said the ordinance unnecessarily gives local police authority to torpedo applications for licensing a dispensary or provisioning center.
“The language needs to be rewritten,” Davis said. “The state already regulates” requirements for provisioning centers.
Flint resident Chris Del Morone and two attorneys questioned pieces of the new ordinances, including the $5,000 cost of a license and a $150 annual employee license fee.
Del Morone said the city shouldn’t jack up fees on marijuana growing operations because the product is a legally dispensable drug in Michigan.
City Clerk Inez Brown has said six medical marijuana dispensaries that were open before a moratorium against new dispensaries took effect will be grandfathered in and can stay at their current locations. The city first issued the moratorium in February 2011.
New dispensaries are considered a special regulated use and are prohibited from operating in most parts of the city.
The new regulations require marijuana be contained within an enclosed, locked facility, that transfers and deliveries of medical marijuana occur within a structure and during limited hours, and that marijuana shall not be smoked, eaten or otherwise consumed at any licensed center.
Ron Fonger is a reporter for MLive-Flint Journal. Contact him at [email protected] or 810-347-9963. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
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