2017-09-13 / Front Page

Elba officials say ‘no’ to medical pot

BY ANDREW DIETDERICH
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com


Elba Township Trustee Kelly Bales said she wanted the township’s attorney to review a medical marijuana resolution before the board approved it. 
Photos by Andrew Dietderich Elba Township Trustee Kelly Bales said she wanted the township’s attorney to review a medical marijuana resolution before the board approved it. Photos by Andrew Dietderich ELBA TWP. — Elba Township officials became the latest in Lapeer County to take up the issue of whether or not to allow medical marijuana-related businesses in their community.

The township’s board of trustees discussed the matter at its board meeting Monday morning.

Township Supervisor Mike Boskee presented the board with template motions drawn up by the Michigan Townships Association for local government officials around the state to use in crafting local law about medical marijuana.

“I average about two or three phone calls a week from people asking ‘What is Elba Township’s stance?”’ Boskee said.

Last year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), Public Act 281 of 2016.


Elba Township Supervisor Mike Boskee said he averages about “two or three phone calls a week” from people asking about the township’s stance on medical marijuana. Elba Township Supervisor Mike Boskee said he averages about “two or three phone calls a week” from people asking about the township’s stance on medical marijuana. The bill essentially expands and clarifies state law related to medical marijuana after voters in Michigan approved the Medical Marihuana Act in 2008.

That act didn’t necessarily legalize marijuana for medical use, but provided patients and caregivers immunity from prosecution as long as they met the law’s requirements related to variables such as how much a caregiver can grow, and how much patients can legally possess at any given time.

Unlike “traditional” prescriptions, physicians don’t prescribe mountains of pills but fill out a form recommending medical marijuana that is submitted to the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

However, the 2008 act only recognized patients and caregivers — it did not provide for any kind of legal business infrastructure, though retail, or “provisioning,” centers have popped up in communities.

Such centers have been called illegal by some since the law signed by Snyder will be implemented Dec. 15.

At that time, there will be five types of entities (classes of licenses) that will be regulated and allowed to operate in the state: growing, processing, provisioning centers, secured transporters, and safety compliance.

Even then, however, local jurisdictions have the final say over what kind of, or if any, medical marijuana-focused businesses can operate in their communities.

Those who want the businesses — along with a portion of the taxes and fees from such operations — must “opt-in” and specify what type of medical marijuana-related businesses they want to allow.

A February 2017 story in the MTA magazine Township Focus notes that governmental units that opt-in have control over what kind of, and how many, medical marijuana-related businesses can be established in their communities. The City of Lapeer is a local municipality that has opted-in and is crafting its medical marijuana ordinance.

Conversely, communities can “opt-out” of allowing any such businesses. (They also can “do nothing,” which is akin to opting out though less formally. This is the route Mayfield Township officials took in July.)

During Monday’s meeting, after a motion was made to opt-out, the board only discussed whether or not the resolution should be reviewed by the township’s legal counsel.

“I know in the past when we discussed this, the board was not in favor of moving forward with…so I guess we can take an official step forward and opt-out,” Boskee said.

Township Trustee Tim Lintz made a motion to opt-out in light of “things getting more technical” with regard to medical marijuana in Michigan.

During discussion, before a vote, Trustee Kelly Bales asked if the proposed resolution to opt-out that was prepared by MTA was reviewed by the township’s attorney.

Boskee said it had not been reviewed by Elba Township’s attorney.

“I think our attorney should review it just to make sure that if there’s something else we need to add as a township municipality…I think that would be good,” she said.

Boskee said he agree with Bales “to some extent, but this is actually pretty cut and dry.”

“This is simply putting on the record that we’re not even considering it,” Boskee added.

The board approved opting out, 5-1 with Trustee Charles Franckowiak casting the lone “no” vote.

In other board action Monday, officials:

• Approved accepting a bid from Custom Fab and Body for $262,776 for a new fire truck.

• Continued the discussion on hiring a person or persons to handle set-up/take-down of the township hall for rental with no action taken.

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