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New Baltimore Passes Medical Marijuana Ordinance

A majority of New Baltimore City Council approved medical marijuana dispensaries in the industrial district.

Following months of debates, New Baltimore City Council approved a medical marijuana ordinance Monday night.

The council majority approved the proposed ordinance allowing dispensaries in the city's industrial district, an area not far behind the U.S. Post Office off 23 Mile, Councilman Karl Rutledge said.

Under the ordinance, medical marijuana establishments cannot be within 1,200 feet of primary or secondary schools in the city, he said.

"I am glad that we have taken the first step," Rutledge, who also has served on the planning commission, said after the motion passed. "Now we have guidelines in place. It's very difficult to tell a business owner who you can and can't sell your property to."

The ordinance is aimed at setting clear, concise rules for would-be dispensaries in the city and helping police decipher between unlawful and lawful establishments, according to city officials.

Councilman Jeffrey Christie, who has favored residential cultivation, cast the sole dissenting vote. Christie scoffed at the ordinance that cites potential crime, electrical hazards and property damage as reasons for disallowing pot growth in homes. He and Councilman Ken Butler sought to pass residential cultivation, citing a majority of Michigan voters approved the Medical Marihuana Act in 2008.

The council majority also voted in favor of a medical marijuana dispensary moratorium from January until March 1. The moratorium has been extended multiple times, but this motion allows the city to get the dispensary ordinance in place. Christie and Butler cast opposing votes to this moratorium proposal.

City Attorney Jack Dolan said legal interpretation of the MMA is ongoing as cases filter through the court systems.

"This remains an area of evolution," he told council.

Jamie December 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
The council has no authority to disallow home medical cannabis gardens. A local government may not get between the MMMA and the rights and protections it affords those choosing to participate in the program. The dispensary can only be in addition to the existing rights and protections, it can not restrict or prohibit other already legal activity. This is the law of the land as confirmed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Half Baked December 11, 2012 at 06:40 PM
All for medical marijuana if it is being used for medical purposes. Problem is, most of the people that get this card just use it as a free pass to get high!!!!
Jamie December 11, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Half Baked- can you name one person who fits your description? If so, can you describe the ensuing tragedy?
Joel Fedorchak December 12, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Sure Jamie,,,he'll just start dropping names on You & HERE on "the board". LOL,,,
Jamie December 12, 2012 at 09:29 PM
If someone is going to to attempt to assert something, especially something so damning of an otherwise succesful program, they should be prepared to substantiate it. The truth is, while many are ready to believe that the program is abused, there is no evidence to support it. It is simply said and believed without actually being true. A person leaves a pharmacy with enough poison to kill themselves several times over. Whereas, it is cosmically impossible for the same person to die of a cannabis overdose, as there has never been such an incident in the several thousand years of known use by humans. The issue here, though is understanding the law and respecting the democratic process. It is not necessary to discuss the medical efficacy, the people of Michigan have proclaimed, very clearly, that cannabis works and should be available for those who can benefit from it.

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