City of Muskegon Takes More Time To Better Define Medical Marijuana Regulations

Andrew Trzaska | December 15, 2010

Medical marijuana in Muskegon will be held off at least another three months after the City Commission voted 6-1 on Tuesday to extend the current moratorium on facilities in the city.

Medicinal marijuana facilities are not currently allowed in any type of zoning in the City of Muskegon.  City staff is currently developing ordinances concerning where and how these facilities may be located. However, they do not expect to present their recommendation work to Muskegon’s Planning Commission until February of 2011.

This emergency freeze is an extension of one that began in February of 2010.  The new expiration date is March 14, 2011, which should give the Planning Commission time to approve the recommendation or extend the moratorium even longer.

The long process to set up and regulate medical marijuana facilities across the State of Michigan began with a vote on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in November 2008. The law, which passed as a ballot initiative on Election Day that year, opens up the ability for severely ill patients with certain diagnoses to keep and use the schedule I drug.  It also allows for the growing of up to 12 plants by a registered patient.  It does not, however regulate the dosage, potency or frequency of use.

Muskegon city officials have described the bill as vague.  In fact, there is very little in the bill to describe what so-called “facilities” can actually be, where they can be located or how they can function.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Vice Mayor Steve Gawron expressed continued dissatisfaction with the state law.  He stated that continuing the moratorium would provide the city needed time to accurately define all of the terms because the law does not do so.

“We have to make sure that whatever we do we protect the city’s interests, but also that we are not in violation of a vague and horribly produced law”.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst