Muskegon mulls medical marijuana ordinance allowing dispensaries
Medical marijuana advocates and patients may soon find safe harbor in Muskegon as city commissioners mull over an ordinance allowing growers and dispensaries to operate in a special district off Seaway Drive.
The proposed ordinance would allow growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, secure transport for suppliers and dispensaries, labeled legally as “provisioning centers,” in the district, provided operators get necessary permits.
Commissioners plan to discuss the ordinance during their work session that begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, at Muskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace St.
The measure is not on the commission’s Tuesday formal session agenda.
According to a draft of the proposed ordinance, the city would have discretion to issue and limit the number of permits. Potential pot operations would be required to receive the city permit as well as a state operating license before opening their doors.
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Application and inspection fees would then be assessed if a permit is approved. The city would also be able to charge facilities of any kind an annual fee of no more than $5,000 to “help defray the administrative and enforcement costs associated with operation of (facilities) … in (Muskegon),” according to the proposed ordinance.
It would also regulate all medical marijuana sale and growth activity to a special overlay district. The proposed district is located off Seaway Drive, starting at the corner of Glade Street and Hackley Avenue, ending north at Young Avenue and running east to Park Street.
A recent rule change in Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana statute passed by state lawmakers late last month permits one-stop medical marijuana shops, or “co-location” facilities where providers can grow, process and sell medical marijuana in the same building, with a few exceptions.
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced the new rule in a news release issued on Thursday, Sept. 21.
State lawmakers last year passed legislation to legalize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, but ultimately left the particulars up to the regulatory affairs office.
The department said last week that it will allow facility owners to grow, process and sell medical marijuana at one location as long as specific conditions were met. Those conditions include having a facility with separate working areas, entrances, point of sale operations and record keeping systems. Providers would be subject to additional inspections and permit requirements.
However, cities and townships can pass local ordinances or zoning laws limiting the operations.