2018-05-10 / Front Page

Board delays medical marijuana licensing ordinance again

By Rhonda Sanders
810-452-2665 * rsanders@mihomepaper.com

FLINT TWP. — Advocates of licensed medical marijuana facilities being located in Flint Township will have to wait a few more months for a decision by the township board.

For the third time since March, the township board voted to delay approval of the medical marijuana licensing facilities ordinance that would establish rules for state-authorized businesses to operate in the township.

The township’s proposed ordinance was introduced in early March and came up for second reading at the board’s March 19 and April 16 meetings. It was postponed due to ongoing concerns about what was included or needed to be included in the language.

Most recently, the board, upon recommendation for building director Randy Stewart, voted to first refer the ordinance to its Planning Commission for review and a recommendation.

The Commission should review the ordinance first because if it is sent to them and changed after being approved by the township board’, it would have to go through the adoption process again, Stewart said.

He has previously spoken against passing the ordinance, citing its potential harm to township businesses.

Based on advice from Wade Trim Associates, a Detroit civil engineering, planning, and environmental science service, Stewart said he favored not passing the ordinance and opting out of allowing any facilities in the township.

“Denying commercial growing operations within the township’s boundaries will not hinder those who need it,,” he said. Stewart also cited concerns about marijuana growers overtaking the township industrially zoned area if other businesses located there choose to move out.

“Could allowing this use in the industrial zoned areas hamper any future developments?’” he asked. “Would this type of operation really make good neighbors for other businesses?”

Police Chief George Sippert also has spoken against adopting the ordinance, citing increased crime statistics associated with the facilities.

Several people spoke during public comment at the board’s May 5 meeting. Most were opposed. Those in favor included people who do not reside in Flint Township.

Wyatt Pangerl, a local real estate agent, was one of those opposed. He said he had questioned potential home buyers and most did not favor raising a family in a community with licensed marijuana facilities.

He also said that his father’s business is located in an industrial complex with a medical marijuana facility. Since the medical marijuana business moved in about five years ago, some tenants have moved out due to the smell and a spike in crime in nearby businesses, he said.

Ghassan Saab, a Grand Blanc resident, spoke in favor of passing the ordinance. Medical marijuana has been legal for several years and not led to pot smokers on street corners.

“The stuff is coming, we are just trying to regulate it,” he said citing the potential on the November ballot of a proposal to fully legalize marijuana in Michigan.

Pending review by the Planning Commission, the licensing ordinance is expected to come before the township board again in July

The ordinance is intended to authorize certain types of medical marijuana facilities in the township, provide restrictions to protect public health and safety, mitigate impact on surrounding properties and defray administrative and enforcement costs by assessing and annual, nonrefundable fee of up to $5,000.

It would not allow dispensaries (retail and recreational sales) or provisioning centers, as defined by state law. It would allow Class A, B and C growers, processors, safety compliance facilities and secure transporters.

The proposed ordinance can be read on the township website at www.finttownship.org

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