Marquette City Commission holds meeting about medical marijuana

Are the residents of Marquette for, or against, a proposed ordinance that would authorize business licenses for medical marijuana?

Those that made comments at Monday night’s hearing all seemed to be saying the same thing.

They didn’t say whether or not they were for or against the dispensation of medical marijuana within the city limits of Marquette, instead they’re concerned about the way the ordinance is written.

“There’s just a lot of things in this that offend me and it makes it clear that it’s not really written, that it’s written to be preventable and be obstructed,” one resident said.

Comment after comment made about the verbage of the city of Marquette’s proposed medical marihuana ordinance.

“Your proposed ordinance seems to make it more restrictive,” claimed reisdent Brian Block.  “It is unenforceable, it is not in keeping with the wishes of the community.”

The ordinance is designed to keep the proposed dispensaries in the business section of the city, and away from residential areas.

Some of the standards listed:

– all product would have to remain in a locked area
– dispensaries would be subject to routine inspections
– no sale or distribution of any kind between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Residents expressed concern about some of the demands within the ordinance.

“It is completely unreasonable, and it completely takes the compassion out of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act,” added another Marquette resident.

Once public comment was over, city commissioners said they were committed to protecting the interests of the majority of people who won’t be using the medical marijuana.

“The goal was to provide access to medical marihuana because that is the state law, but also do it the way the rest of the community feels comfortable,” Mayor John Kivela said.

After referencing communities downstate that already have medical marijuana ordinances in place, several commissioners agreed that the ordinance could use some revision.

“You’re trying to balance out the values and the needs of the folks that need the marijuana, versus the values and the needs of the greater community, and that’s a difficult thing sometime to achieve,” commissioner Fred Stonehouse said.

Before Monday night’s hearing, the city commission had planned to vote on this ordinance at next week’s meeting.

Afterwards they said the issue will most likely be on the agenda, but after all of the discrepancies over the wording, they may end up waiting to make a decision.

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Do residents of the City of Marquette support the distribution of medical marijuana?  A public hearing is being held Monday night to find out.

Over the past few months, the Marquette City Commission has held public hearings in regard to this issue.

Now the purpose of this meeting is for the City Commission, and residents, to further look into the possibility of an ordinance for medical marijuana.

Michigan voters agreed in 2008 to legalize marijuana in treating some health problems.

Severe and chronic pain, muscle spasms and nausea are the main reasons about 64,000 people are authorized to use medical marijuana in Michigan.

The ordinance calls for the licensing of growers of medical marijuana with several rules and regulations.

Among them:

– dispensaries would have to keep all product in a locked area
– not operate within 1,000 feet of schools
– not distribute between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The ordinance is designed to keep dispensaries in the business section of the city, and away from residential areas.

If adopted, this ordinance would take effect 30 days after being posted.

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