East Lansing Considering Dispensary Legislation

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

For East Lansing's mayor, Victor Loomis, the legalisation of marijuana has brought up more questions than answers.

"There's a lot of pieces of the legislation that aren't well defined," said Loomis.

That's why the city held a public hearing Tuesday to consider three different ordinances affecting how medical marijuana is distributed in the city.

Ordinanace No. 1245A would not allow dispensaries to operate but would allow licensed primary caregivers to dispense marijuana out of their own home.

Ordinance No. 1245B is the same as the first option except it restricts primary caregivers from dispensing medical marijuana in their home.

Ordinance No. 1245C is the only one of the three that allows dispensaries to operate, but only in designated business districts.

Currently, licensed primary caregivers and patients can grow 12 plants each in a home. None of the three ordinances affect that and all three allow caregivers to deliver medical marijuana to patient's homes.

Dispensaries are currently allowed in Lansing, but you won't find any in East Lansing because the city froze licensing in August.

During public comment, East Lansing resident Jeff Hank spoke out in favor of the third option and dispensaries in general.

"There's people who want to open dispensaries right now," said Hank. "We need jobs, we need people to grow. This was a farming community originally."

Although none of the city councilmembers would go on record as supporting any of the three options, Councilmember Nathan Triplett says that the second option is too restrictive.

"In East Lansing, 75% of voters voted for the medical marijuana act," said Triplett. "It's important that we respect the will of the people when they say this type of medication should be available."

But Tom Yeadon, East Lansing's Assistant City Attorney, cautioned that the high price of medical marijuana in East Lansing, $450 an ounce, could draw crime to locations dispensing marijuana.

"You're talking about a very high amount of money that can be on premises at any given time," said Yeadon. "There was a break-in and actual murder of caregivers in a local jurisdiction."

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