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State medical marijuana regulations should work well pending local ordinance

Posted: 7:22 AM, Sep 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-15 07:22:08-04

8 years ago, Michigan voters made medical marijuana legal.

Wednesday, the Legislature finally passed bills that detail how it can be grown, bought, sold, and even consumed.

"I'm grateful that the Legislature has finally given us some meat on the bones, what we had was a skeleton of a law that the public passed," Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Bernero, whose city has more than 70 dispensaries, says he's relieved the city will soon have guidance about how to regulate them.

"It feels good to finally have provided our communities some structure," Representative Andy Schor (D-Lansing) who voted for the bills said.

"The nice thing about this bill is that it allows for some local input, it doesn't stipulate every last detail, we get to do that," Bernero said.

Something Lansing City Council Member Carol Wood is also grateful for. She's been working on a local ordinance with the city attorney for years - and their latest draft has a lot in common with the state bills. "The draft that we've had and been working on now is very close to what's in state law so very confidant in moving forward with what we've got," Wood said.

If the bills become law, change won't be immediate, people will have to wait at least 360 days from the time the law goes into effect to even apply for a license.

"There's still a lot of work to be done," Bernero said.

That's why Wood says she will keep working on Lansing's local ordinance instead of waiting for state law to kick in. "We can't stop in mid-stream. We need to continue to move forward," she said.

The bills require dispensaries to buy licenses from the state - but also allow local government to charge for licenses to help cover the costs of enforcing the new rules.