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New Baltimore City Council Has Mixed Feelings on Medical Pot Dispensaries

City council voted to ask the planning commission to draw an ordinance regulating the distribution of medical marijuana in New Baltimore and imposed a 60-day extension of its dispensary moratorium.

The medical marijuana dispensary debate – which invokes passionate emotions between chronically ill patients and staunch opponents of pot shops across the state – moved a couple miles down the road Monday night.

The topic shifted from Chesterfield Township, the hotly contested home of , to the quaint neighboring town of New Baltimore when City Council expressed mixed feelings about dispensaries.

Ultimately rejecting proposals to extend a moratorium on medical pot dispensaries in the city for one year and then failing to approve it for 90 days, a majority of council eventually agreed to extend the moratorium for 60 days. The caveat to the temporary ban: council members voted to request the New Baltimore Planning Commission to draft an ordinance regulating medical marijuana distribution and bring it back to council within 60 days.

That move could possibly pave way for dispensaries to come to the city, pending authorization by city council.

Citing impending court cases in Michigan, City Attorney Jack Dolan had advised council to continue its stance to prevent dispensaries in the city.

"The opinions right now are coming down that generally medical marijuana storage is not legal," Dolan said. "We recommend to the administration that the moratorium be continued."

Councilmen Jeffrey Christie, Ken Butler and Zack Stanton expressed support for medical marijuana dispensaries.

"So it really doesn't make no difference if the people voted for this? The government's going to shut it down regardless – or the Attorney General's Office," Christie said, referring to Michigan voters who passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in November 2008 and Atty. Gen. Bill Schuette's firm stance against dispensaries.

Banning regulated dispensaries when voters passed the medical marijuana act is contradictory, Butler said.

"That's like saying 'We all voted for (Rick) Snyder but Virg Benero is our governor,'" he said.

Butler said revoking options for people who cannot grow or harvest their own medical pot is horrific, considering the pains of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. If people know of the obstacles seriously ill patients face, they would be open to helping alleviate their suffering, he said.

"My first wife died of breast cancer so I get a little wound up," he said after the meeting.

Councilwoman Florence Hayman expressed concerns over potential litigation if dispensaries came to the city.

"Look at Chesterfield and how much they spent," Hayman said of the .

Council also discussed keeping any dispensaries away from certain locations within the city, such as schools.

Earlier that day, Mayor Larry Smith, who did not vote on the matter, said state and federal stances on medical marijuana distribution give mixed messages that would be confusing for local law enforcement and residents.

"It's such a can of worms," he said.

The council majority voted last fall on a with Christie and Butler opposing it. Newcomer Stanton helped back up their sentiment that banning properly regulated dispensaries is wrong.

Along with Hayman, Councilman Karl Rutledge was in favor of dispensary ban extensions during all three votes of one year, 90 days and 60 days. Butler agreed to the 90-day ban as long as planning officials drafted the dispensary ordinance, but Stanton and Christie voted against it. Butler, Hayman, Stanton and Rutledge agreed to the 60-day ban with Christie casting the sole opposing vote. Councilwoman Susan Burkhardt was absent.

On Monday night, Big Daddy's spokesman Rick Thompson said the dispensary is . It must conform to the state medical marijuana act and decisions of the Michigan Court of Appeals, he said.

Do you think dispensaries should be allowed in New Baltimore? Tell us in the comments section.

kidcat24 January 24, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Yes, the war on drugs was lost a long time ago.
Allen Fletcher January 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
how would "pot shops" in New Baltimore work with no drug school zones I believe you would be hard pressed to find a spot 500 feet from ant school. and or school bus stop with in the city
Lilly January 24, 2012 at 05:08 PM
What a joke..we voted FOR it. Now they wanna take it back ?! So many people smoke anyway so no one will ever stop it. Move on to something inportant like roads.
William Clark January 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Last year Bill Schuette said that Proposition One contained "nothing" to prevent dispensaries. Now that he's Michigan's Attorney General he declares them 'illegal', as "nothing" in the new law allows such 'public nuisances'. Especially if he ignores its provisions for patient-to-patient transfers and compensation for caregivers. Or changes the word, "a" to "the" in a sentence describing them. Schuette's policies encourage convictions through entrapment and denial of medical defense, officers posed as 'patients' with forged identification and rulings based on keeping juries in the dark. Courts should not deny us what they themselves demand from witnesses: "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" about their trials, and about cannabis, "kaneh bosm" in the old scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, the safest medicinal herb in history.
George Van Setters January 24, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Why should that matter? You really think with all the pressure on these people they are going to sell to school children? Thats pretty sad, I see Pharmacy next to schools everywhere, they sell Morphine, Vicodin, things that KILL, THEY KILL, we allow that, but pateint receiving Marijuana by a school, that would be the most hypicritical BS EVER!
George Van Setters January 24, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"4 or more pateints per caregiver", DID YOU EVEN READ THE LAW? It says 5 PATEINTS PER CAREGIVER! YOUR MATH IS RETARDED!!! Its pretty dang hard to grow period, you actually have to work to get those numbers. AND I MEAN WORK, like 60+ hrs a week, please dont think its some easy thing to do, even soil growin is DANG HARD work, its farming, and its not outside so, think again if your going to become a pro over night, it takes most people 20+ grows to even begin to think they are comfortable, do you have any Idea the cost of 20+ grows, with your math maybe, but for me I think its great to have an option to buy it from any card holding michigan Citizen, I also beleive in Legalization. and recreational use. Please go back and recalculate, MOST are lucky to get 4 OZ, the very best are happy with 10oz, but that vegin to enormous sizes and that takes time, a 10oz grow is going to cost ya 2 months, veg, plus 8-12 weeks flower, and that is with everything optimal Co2 ect ect ect. serious cash!
George Van Setters January 24, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I agree this is all just BS, im tired of listening to the haters, its disgusting! Ignorance is superior with our so called leaders!
George Van Setters January 24, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I agree this is just going to far! I'm outraged our vote has been peed on!
Joseph January 24, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Dear George..... Michigan has at minimal 4 caregiver cards out for each one (1) patient. Can you hear me now? (lol thankx). This atty. General is not acting upon what the Federal Government has said. Leave the ones sick pretty much alone and DO NOT waste the monies spent on frivilous but very exhorbant costs. That guy number one has to go! And the real deal patients I know need safe houses and I'm positive many would gladly say "sure you can medicate at my place". We need smile, happy, good people. The medicines need to be dumped and all the crooks and cronies on the boards and whatever removed. Medical Marijuana is a very important item the people should control themselves. Maybe the government should push the monchie end of things and set up a clever statewide franchise they own called smoking munchies! FREE delivery all orders say over 25 bucks and 5 bucks otherwise. Go everywhere mcdonalds is and you'll have all the medicaters covered. T.Y.
Seymour Concerned January 24, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Every town, village and city in Michigan could use tax revenue from these types of businesses. Funny how this new business is being spurned while New Baltimore sinks deeper into the heroin/Oxycontin epidemic ravaging our country.
KM January 24, 2012 at 11:55 PM
My comment unlike the rest of you has to do with the joke of our city council. First of all what is with Stanton playing with his phone throughout the entire meeting...this is the change and new vision we voted for? He is nothing but Butler's puppet and in fact at one point during the meeting when they were going back and forth over the moratorium issue Butler needed a motion...none was made and he pointed to Stanton who immediately made the motion. It was like watching a puppeteer control all the moves of his puppet. Zack Stanton was the biggest waste of a vote. He sits there every meetings, says nothing, shakes his head a lot and pretends to take notes in between playing with his phone. Further he says nothing to citizens, he doesn't even make eye contact most of the time. Even at the end of meetings when everyone has a chance to comment his response each time is..."i've got nothing"....you got that right Zack .."You Got Nothing"
Chris Nellis January 25, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Everyone go go back and forth on the little bickering...but the bottom line is... The Voters of Michigan voted for medicinal marijuana.....now they won't allow it and after some communities do, they then take it away...what message does this send to our youth who we beg to exercise their vote? I hope everyone goes out in November and votes to legalize marijuana for all...maybe that would end this madness we call politics.
Joseph January 25, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Seymour.... How true and right you are. The town has grown with certain element within it I have noticed in my only 12 years in the area. I'm shocked the "Heroin Express" as the bus 560 was named in the press is allowed to bring back many that use it early in the day to hit the big "D" and come back late or the next day, week or whatever but never lose their cars that way. Wonder if any follow up undercover riders of sorts have done a follow up. I love all the special people known to be in various homes in New Baltimore but not the element of Heroin and Oxy! Our lives then are at risk. So...If the bus stays so should a healthy and happy alternative called "Medical Marihuana" as it is classified in Michigan
granny January 25, 2012 at 02:51 PM
'Citing impending court cases in Michigan, City Attorney Jack Dolan had advised council to continue its stance to prevent dispensaries in the city. "The opinions right now are coming down that generally medical marijuana storage is not legal," ' where did he get this hogwash from? I store my mmj legally.
Dave March 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Well it's been 60 days.. Now what? Have you all come up with any information, have you asked anyone in the community what they want? And where is the draft from the planning dept? "The caveat to the temporary ban: council members voted to request the New Baltimore Planning Commission to draft an ordinance regulating medical marijuana distribution and bring it back to council within 60 days." More importantly.. when are you planning on putting this on the agenda for a vote and are you going to allow the public to have any input before you do?

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