Lansing City Council Considering Moratorium on Pot Businesses

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

The growing number of dispensaries, compassionate care clubs and hydroponics stores in Lansing in the two years since Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act was approved by voters is causing the city to look at slowing things down.

The City Council introduced a proposed ordinance that would block new businesses from opening up in town. The moratorium would last a year but could be shortened if the city comes up licensing or regulation. Currently opened businesses would not be affected by the moratorium.

"It would give us a year to work through this information and come up with a cohesive ordinance that will be the most effective for Lansing," said city councillor Carol Wood.

Some local dispensary owners are in favor of a moratorium because it would allow the city time to institute regulations around issues like security, insurance and zoning.

"We applaud the city of Lansing for doing this," said Ryan Basore of Capital City Caregivers. "This gives the city a chance to slow down and look at what they can do to regulate our industry."

But not everyone is in favor of the ordinance.

"This is a business and these people need to have a right for business," said John Pollard, a Lansing resident who thinks that the proposed moratorium is too long. "We can't keep this up too long because this is a legitimate business, no matter what some people may think."

Councilmembers Kathie Dunbar and Jessica Yorko both voted against even setting a public hearing to discuss the ordinance because of issues they had with the length and breadth of the moratorium.

East Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank has been looking to open a moratorium in East Lansing but has been stymmied by a similar moratorium in place in that city. He's in favor of a more laissez faire approach to the industry.

"We're not putting moratoriums on other businesses," said Hanks. "It seems like we ought to be bringing this into the legitimate limelight and passing a moratorium doesn't allow others to do that."

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance on December 6th following a public hearing.


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