By Judy Reed
The city of Cedar Springs is giving itself some time to consider whether it wants to allow the sale and dispensing of medical marijuana within the city limits. The City Council passed ordinance 159 last Thursday evening, a temporary moratorium on the issuing of city permits, licenses or approvals for the sale or dispensation of the drug.
According to city lawyer Jeffrey Sluggett, of Law Weathers, there is no language in the state act that describes where such activities are permitted. So local governments have to decide whether to regulate it or do nothing and risk that people or businesses will do it without regulation. Weathers noted that in California and Colorado, where medical marijuana has been used for a number of years, there has been an increase of dispensaries operating in commercial zoning districts. “An attendant increase in crime, etc. has been experienced where these dispensaries operate,” he wrote in a letter to City Manager Christine Burns.
Other cities across the state are also considering the issue. Grand Rapids plans to allow home-based caregivers with five patients to dispense medical marijuana. The ordinance requires that caregivers to obtain a business license from the city. The plan also won support from the Grand Rapids police department, who was reportedly worried that large dispensaries would attract robberies.
The moratorium in Cedar Springs will be for six months, while the city studies its options.