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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Planning commission recommends changes to allow use in private clubs

    Medical marijuana patients would be able to use the drug in private clubs under the latest version of a proposed city ordinance.

    The Battle Creek Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended changing the city's zoning rules to allow growing marijuana for medicinal use in certain commercial zones.

    Compassion clubs, operations that provide support services for medical marijuana patients, would be allowed in some zones and would give patients a second place to use their medicine besides their homes.

    The planning commission approved recommending the changes 5-2, with Jan Frantz and City Commissioner Bill Morris voting no.

    Frantz requested the city add a limit on the number of caregivers who can operate in a single location, but her amendment failed.

    The Battle Creek City Commission still must sign off on the zoning changes, as well as approve a separate ordinance requiring a city license for some residential or commercial properties where medical marijuana is grown. Those ordinances are set to be introduced at a meeting Tuesday.

    An earlier recommendation from city staff would have banned the use of marijuana in compassion clubs. It was changed after medical marijuana advocates said it was important to give patients an alternative location to use the drug besides their homes.

    At Tuesday's meeting, more than 30 people spoke out against the proposed regulations, saying they went against state law, would limit patients' access to medicine and would force patients to buy marijuana off the street.

    Operations focused primarily on the dispensing or smoking of medical marijuana would still be banned under the city's proposed regulations.

    But smoking in the clubs is not a settled issue. The city commission could change the recommendation, and at a workshop Tuesday morning, Vice Mayor Chris Simmons hinted that he was not in favor of allowing use at the clubs.

    Medical marijuana proponents also were concerned that compassion clubs would not be allowed to distribute the drug. Patients said only getting the drug from their designated caregiver means they have no backup source.

    But Battle Creek City Attorney Eileen Wicklund said she didn't feel the state's medical marijuana law allowed for entities like compassion clubs to distribute marijuana.

    A temporary halt to new medical marijuana establishments in Battle Creek expires in January, meaning the city has one month to finalize its rules.

    Other cities have instituted full bans on medical marijuana, which Michigan voters approved in 2008.

    On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit against the cities of Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Birmingham, saying the cities' bans violate state law.

    Barrett Newkirk
    The Enquirer
    December 2, 2010

    http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/...14/Planners-OK-medical-marijuana-zones-in-B.C.

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  1. torachi
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a suit against the cities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia on Wednesday supporting a 61-year-old Birmingham woman's right to use medical marijuana.

    ACLU officials charge that Linda Lott, a licensed medical marijuana patient suffering from multiple sclerosis for 28 years, is having her state rights violated by ordinances in all three cities prohibiting growing and using medical marijuana.

    "The people of Michigan voted overwhelmingly in support of compassionate care for patients like Linda Lott whose pain can be eased by the use of medical marijuana," said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. "In a democracy, city commissions do not have the power to veto statewide ballot initiatives after they have been approved by the voters and enacted into law."

    Lott says she uses the medical marijuana to relieve back spasms, a side effect of her condition.

    "Instead of relief, I now live in fear that I could be arrested by local officials for following state law," Lott said in a statement released by the ACLU.

    The outcome of the lawsuit could set a legal precedence for the entire state of Michigan, including several Northern Michigan communities currently considering how to govern medical marijuana in the future because of the ambiguity of the Medical Marijuana Act, which state voters approved by 62 percent in 2008.

    Though none of the local municipalities in Emmet County have sought to outlaw patient or caregiver use, they have struggled with how to prepare to deal with dispensaries and compassion clubs in the future.

    City of Harbor Springs officials recently considered a city ordinance requiring all home occupations to adhere to state and federal law, effectively banning medical marijuana dispensaries under the federal law among other occupations. However, the measure failed to gain the necessary votes by the Harbor Springs City Council to pass.

    Harbor Springs city manager Tom Richards said Wednesday the city has not considered revising or proposing a new ordinance at this time.

    Richards said the ACLU suit did not surprise him.

    "Personally, I think the legislature owes it to the state to define and make some rules to manage this," Richards said. "It seems like the Legislature got caught flat footed with the (2008) proposal and have not gotten into defining and regulating the business as they would for just about anything else."

    The lack of definition has municipalities throughout Michigan attempting to make their own definitions and guidelines in the Medical Marijuana Act's stead.

    The Emmet County Board of Commissioners has placed a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries through March, while a county-appointed committee researches and discusses possible zoning options for regulating the growing number of patients, caregivers and profiteers in the area.

    The county committee remains in the information-gathering stage and is broadly discussing a prohibition, specific regulations or simply "doing nothing" as its future avenues.

    The village of Mackinaw City also approved a similar moratorium in May restricting medical marijuana dispensaries. The village mailed letters to select businesses in their jurisdiction notifying them of the prohibition on selling marijuana paraphernalia, according to Mackinaw City Planning Commission minutes.

    The Emmet County Medical Marijuana Committee is set to meet next at 5 p.m. Jan. 25, in the Emmet County Courthouse Building in downtown Petoskey.

    By Brandon Hubbard, Thursday, December 2 2010

    http://cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/12/02/ACLU-Sues-Michigan-Cities-Banning-Medical-Marijuana
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