Union Township takes another step toward medical marijuana law

Union Township planners Wednesday moved ahead with development of both a zoning law and a proposed law to regulate medical marijuana-related businesses in the township.

Private homes where marijuana is grown for medicinal use would not be subject to licensing under the plan, but marijuana clubs, dispensaries and large-scale growing facilities would need to be licensed by the township.

“It does not get into licensing caregivers to a great extent,” said attorney Andria M. Ditschman of the Lansing-based Hubbard Law Firm, who is helping the township planning commission draft the law.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act allows registered patients to grow up to 12 plants for their own use, and licensed caregivers to grow up to 12 plants each for up to five patients. The proposed zoning law would indoor marijuana cultivation of up to 72 plants.

“If three caregivers want to live together, great,” Ditschman said. “But they can only grow 72 plants.”

The growing of marijuana for medicinal use would be considered a so-called “accessory use” under the township’s residential zoning law.

Dispensaries would be permitted only in business zones, and large-scale growing operations only in industrial zones under the current plan.

“The language is there to show the intent is not to have a dispensary in a residential neighborhood,” Ditschman said.

Some questions arose whether dispensaries should be permitted to offer other services, or whether their operations simply should be limited to the transfer of medical marijuana.

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