By David Fleet
Goodrich.- On Monday April 12 the village council voted 5-0 to postpone a vote for a medical marijuana caregiver permit ordinance to require medical caregivers to obtain a permit to operate and to provide penalties for a violation. The council requested more time to research the ordinance and did not set a date for a second public hearing.
During the in-person deliberation several residents expressed concerns over the proposed ordinance.
Letters were presented to the council prior to the meeting in opposition.
“I am a resident of Goodrich for almost 50 years and I am not happy that you would consider passing a law to allow your office to keep my medical records. You are not my doctor I follow the laws and pay the state for my medical marijuana card. I think you would be double dipping if you charge me for something I already pay. Do not pass this law it is wrong.”
Another resident agreed.
“I am a very upset resident. I’m angry there is even a consideration to pass an ordinance such as the medical marijuana caregivers permit and charge for it. It is disgusting to me that all of you would consider passing this while we are all out of town for the winter. Are you trying to pass it through like Atlas Township did. I had more faith in them and they have proven me wrong passing that ordinance. I’ve been a resident of Goodrich for 20 years and have needed this medicine for my cancer rehab. It is no ones business at the village hall who has a medical card.”
In December 2020 the Atlas Township Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to adopt a medical marijuana caregiver permit ordinance to require medical caregivers to obtain a permit to operate and to provide penalties for a violation. An application fee of $250 was also approved.
Prior to the vote township officials discussed concerns over an abundance of medical marijuana grown at residences.
In 2018, voters made Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by a 56-44 percent margin, while medical marijuana use was legalized through a ballot initiative in 2008.
Genesee County Sheriff Department Det./Sgt. Rebecca Stadler attended the meeting and said those with medical marijuana licenses don’t have to post anything, however, the caregivers just have to post their cards which will include who they are caring for.
“It will just have the names so they can account who they are growing for,” said Stadler. “It only has to be posted where the product is held. So (for example), if it’s in the basement of a locked room, (and) if it’s inspected they (caregivers) can account for the number of patients and plants.”
According to state law caregivers are allowed 12 marijuana plants for five patients in their care. Over the past years several calls from residents who boarder licensed caregivers growing medical marijuana for up to their patients, have reported issues such as strong odors from the plants. As a result up to 60 plants, that’s 12 plants for each of the five individuals could thriving, in the yards of village residents.
Prior to a recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling, lower courts ruled its hands off for municipalities, it’s voter approved, there’s nothing you can do about it regarding the growing of medical marijuana.
Now, communities like Atlas Township and Goodrich along with other municipalities are using the April 2020 supreme court ruling in DeRuiter vs.Township of Byron that municipalities can now regulate zoning for medical marijuana grow facilities. In a unanimous decision, the high court voted to allow for “reasonable zoning” for caregiver growing. Caregivers will now also need permission and require a permit from municipalities prior to starting an operation. However, the permit requirement does not effectively prohibit the medical marijuana use, said the court. As of 2021, 35 states plus D.C have legalized medicinal marijuana.