No Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Meridian Township

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008, but there's one problem.

"The state law allows for medical marijuana, but never really gives any direction about how you regulate," said Tim Dempsey, director of planning and community development for East Lansing.

Regulation is up to each municipality to decide for itself. The City of East Lansing voted last month to pass a 90 day moratorium on dispensaries. In the meantime the city has three proposals on the table--one to ban dispensaries all together, another to limit them to certain commercial districts, and a third to keep them in people's homes.

Demsey said the city wants to hear from students, permanent residents, businesses, home owners and neighborhood groups. It wants to use this time to understand what the community wants.

On the other hand, the Meridian Township board voted Tuesday night against a moratorium. That's a bad decision if you ask Township Supervisor Susan McGillicudy. The township doesn't currently have any dispensaries, but three requests are pending.

"People don't want to see them in their neighborhoods," McGillicudy said. "They don't want to see them near schools. Even some businesses are a little worried."

So with no moratorium and certainly no regulation to speak of, medical marijuana dispensaries are free to set up shop pretty much anywhere in Meridian Township.

"So it's open doors here for Meridian Township, and I'm a little concerned about that," McGillicudy said. "Is it gonna turn into a smoking house and people get into their car and are they going to drive home?"

McGillicudy says the board won't be revisiting the issue, so law enforcement will just have to play it by ear.


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