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New Baltimore Grows Tired of Cultivating Debate

City Council once again tabled a medical marijuana moratorium Monday night.

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.

Do you think medical marijuana cultivation should be allowed in New Baltimore homes under the ordinance? Tell us in the comments section below.

Read more medical marijuana coverage here.

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kidcat24 September 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Well when you consider kids are having Super Bowl parties, these are parties where kids get prescription pills from home (parents prescriptions) and dump them all in a bowl and party it up! Weed doesn't sound so bad. Natures prescription.
bayboy September 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
maybe they should ban all pain killers in N.B,does that make sense,i'd rather take a pain killer that is not addicting,oh and Florance,more than likely it is in your neighborhood!!!
Brad Forrester September 25, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Council members would be wise to read the Michigan Supreme Court's opinion in People v. Kolenak/King which very clearly restricts a municipalities ability to zone individaul patients and caregivers who are acting in accordance with the MMMAct. Municipalities MAY be able to pass an ordinance to regulate storefront operations, but they CAN NOT regulate patients and caregivers in their own homes. Many municipalities have ordinances directed at patients and caregivers growing cannabis at their home but can not enforce them because they will be sued the first time a zoning citation is issued. New Baltimore officials should move on and work on things they have the authority to change. Councilwoman Florence Hayman should have already moved to Antarctica if she is that afraid of cannabis because it's grown in every community in this state.
Jamie September 25, 2012 at 03:38 PM
The council does not have the authority to get inbetween the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and the participating patients and caregivers. It is incredibly dubious to have the Court of Appeals make a significant and clear unanimous ruling on this in Ter Beek vs The City of Wyoming, and still hear of suggestions of illegal, restrictive ordinances. The council can choose to embrace commercial activity, or not, but it CAN NOT do anything to circumvent activity in people's residences.
kidcat24 September 25, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Does Ms. Hayman really think there is no marijuana in her community?

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