The medical marijuana cultivation debate is growing old in New Baltimore, city officials said Monday night.
In light of the push-and-pull between council and planning officials drafting an ordinance and ambiguity in the Medical Marijuana Act, a council majority decided to table to the medical pot moratorium yet again to Nov. 1.
"You guys are dragging your feet on this," Councilman Jeffrey Christie said. "I'm sick of this."
Christie and Councilman Ken Butler are in favor of limited residential cultivation, but Planning Commission officials are not. Butler suggested lowering the maximum amount of plants in homes to six—well below their initial request. But opponents to residential growth say it will lead to declining property values.
"I don't want it in my neighborhood," Councilwoman Florence Hayman said.
Councilwoman Susan Burkhardt wondered why the city is spending money drafting and re-drafting a medical marijuana ordinance when state law is in place regarding cultivation.
"It sounds like this ordinance is going to be a complete waste of time to begin with," she said.
A majority of Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in November 2008.
City attorney Tim Tomlinson said state law doesn't necessarily override municipalities and he would give council information about various pending lawsuits on the matter.
"It's a terrible law from the standpoint that it doesn't give anybody any guidance," he said. "We're going to be dealing with a moving target here."
A majority of the council—Butler, newly appointed John Dupray and Karl Rutledge—approved the moratorium extension. Christie and Burkhardt rejected it.
The Monday night talks come on the heels of medical marijuana dispensary, Big Daddy's Hydroponics, announcing plans to move to New Baltimore. The business endured a lengthy court battle with Chesterfield Township and the Michigan Attorney General's Office before shutting doors several months ago.
While New Baltimore council and planning officials have agreed on industrial growth, the city cannot authorize plans without an ordinance in place, Clerk Marcia Shinska previously said.
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