Rezoning Application Prompts Marijuana Zoning Debate

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Matthew Drake's Okemos law firm sits next to a building that makes him and his partners uneasy.

"My partners and I noticed large signs being placed on the side of the building featuring large marijuana leaves," he said.

The owner of that building--formerly a Kinder Care Center--is Dr. Shannon Wiggins. She's asking Meridian Township to rezone it from residential to professional office.

"What we're planning is to have a general medicine family practice in this facility," she said.

Over in lansing -- her sign hangs in front of a Michigan Avenue medical marijuana clinic. It's enough to prompt some questions about what she intends for her Okemos building.

"Now would be a great time for the planning commission to table the current request and consider a moratorium," said Drake.

Wiggins says she's never grown or dispensed marijuana in her life and doesn't plan on it.

"Just to allay everyone's fears there's not going to be any growing of or distribution of marijuana at this site. It is purely intended for medical use. Period," she said to the planning commission Monday night.

The planning commission says there can only be medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial-zoned property. But some worry should Dr. Wiggins, down the line, decide to grow or dispense marijuana, that'd be all too easy to get around.

"I could say I'm a caregiver, I'm just growing for my patients," said Drake. "They don't pay me, I just recoup my expenses and therefore this isn't a commercial activity. I can be located in a neighborhood, by a school, by a church."

Which this property is. It's across the street from a middle school and near a church.

The planning commission is scheduled to vote on a recommendation for the Township Board November 22.

We'll let you know what happens.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Nov 11, 2010 at 04:41 AM
    John, as sorry as I am for your own personal experience, I feel it unfair to condemn everyone based on that experience. As a landlord you should know that profiling of any type is nothing but prejudice, plain and simple-whether it be based on race, gender, relgious beliefs, or even legally sanctioned activities you don't happen to agree with. I am tired and utterly fed up with the continued issues people keep finding to promote outdated propaganda that should've died out decades ago yet refuses to because people continue to feed into it. Alcohol kills people, by the hundreds of thousands every year, foolish drivers who refuse to pay attention to the task at hand kill thousands of others, cigarettes kill thousands as well; marijuana kills NO ONE!!!! I'm sorry if you people have such huge issues with people slowly cruising through your neighborhoods in search of comfort for pain and other suffering without the chemical-laden, side effect ridden chemicals of prescription drugs.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Nov 10, 2010 at 10:53 AM
    The medical marijuana laws are an example of irresponsibility by the people of Michigan. In my own experience, I rented my home to a Cooley student and she decided to make my home a grow house. The destruction she and her boyfriend caused is way beyond what I would ever want any landlord to ever have to endure. With the overly broad and vague statute opens the door for anyone to think they too can get rich and dive into the business of medical marijuana. I strongly urge every municipality to take appropriate matter to exclude these businesses in their community and EVERY LANDLORD BEWARE.
  • by Todd on Nov 10, 2010 at 08:27 AM
    This isn't a 'dispensary' or a compassion club people this is a doctor. I would be all for a restriction on signage though since its close to a school. Meaning no leave etc.
  • by Cyndy Location: Lansing on Nov 9, 2010 at 07:21 PM
    Dr. Wiggins took care of my mother for 3 years. I am not ignorant of the meidical process, as I am a retired nurse and have worked with many physicans in my time. We saw her at Grand River Office. During this time, while my mother was so ill, Dr. Wiggins made house call and was very passionate about my moms care and health. We legalized marijuana, so she evaluates patients for treatment, like so many other physicians in the state. This does not make her a pusher or an incompentent physician. She sees me and my family. She orders tests and admits to the hospital, never has she prescribed pain medication or offered. She acts like any other physician I have ever seen.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 9, 2010 at 05:06 PM
    Most communities are saying not in my neighborhood. The law firm should offer free rent to any church to their office so they can be clear of the 1500 feet.
  • by Stacey on Nov 9, 2010 at 01:04 PM
    I'm not against medical marijuana but I don't think Dr. Wiggins shouldn't be allowed to put a bandaid on a child let alone give someone a prescription for pot! This so called doctor wasn't even knowledgeable to know that asthmatic people are absolutely not to take a drug like oxycotin. All I had to do was google it! And I correct kirstins typo *victim*
  • by Bob Location: Ingham County on Nov 9, 2010 at 06:50 AM
    I hate to agree with Kirstin, because she cannot spell. But, Dr. Wiggins is a joke of a Dr.. When the low lifes of Lansing can't get the narcotics that they WANT, they see her. She has more patients that are addicted to pain meds than any other Dr.. Look at her, would you want your mother to be seen by her?
  • by Greg Location: Lansing on Nov 9, 2010 at 05:25 AM
    This is not about one Doctor, but a need to regulate the distribution. Just like Alcohol, the state needs to sell licenses and regulate how many per population area. Its simple and just needs to be handed over to the state liquor commission to run this program. The state could then start making some profit off this product one way or another. Not to mention, yes its legal, but if the state charges an arm and leg to get a license, it will quickly stop the abuse.
  • by Dennis Location: Ingham county. on Nov 9, 2010 at 03:02 AM
    The re zoning and Marijuana should be a non issue and the parents/community shouldn't be concerned. It is not against the law for medical purposes. Its no different then if a pharmacy was proposing to open at the site. The pot would be sold to card carrying patients not kids from the middle school or any other kids for that matter. If parents are concerned about kids getting access to pot they should be concerned about the dealer in the back alley or the kids getting it at parties with friends. Would the same concern be expressed if it was a small convenience store that happened to sell alcohol being proposed for the site? Marijuana isn't the devil that too many people think it is. I think it should be legal just like any other vice like alcohol and cigarettes are, sold to of age adults. If someone wants pot they already have easy access to it.
  • by Dennis Location: Ingham county. on Nov 9, 2010 at 03:01 AM
    The re zoning and Marijuana should be a non issue and the parents/community shouldn't be concerned. It is not against the law for medical purposes. Its no different then if a pharmacy was proposing to open at the site. The pot would be sold to card carrying patients not kids from the middle school or any other kids for that matter. If parents are concerned about kids getting access to pot they should be concerned about the dealer in the back alley or the kids getting it at parties with friends. Would the same concern be expressed if it was a small convenience store that happened to sell alcohol being proposed for the site? Marijuana isn't the devil that too many people think it is. I think it should be legal just like any other vice like alcohol and cigarettes are, sold to of age adults. If someone wants pot they already have easy access to it.
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