Dexter Sets Public Hearing for Marijuana Ordinance

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By Doug Marrin

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) was adopted in 2008. Since then, an ongoing battle between caregivers and Michigan municipalities has been waged. The issue is whether or not marijuana caregivers who follow Michigan’s medical marijuana law must satisfy additional criteria dictated by local ordinances.

Although not a battle, the City of Dexter is working through the issue. The action results from an inquiry from a medical marijuana caregiver regarding City regulations on medical marijuana home occupation.

A “medical marijuana caregiver” is a health care worker who is permitted to use marijuana to treat their patients. A “medical marijuana home occupation” is when marijuana for medical purposes of the caregiver is grown at his or her home.

Caregiver home occupation requirements include:

  • Obtaining a valid caregiver ID card from the state
  • Growing no more than twelve (12) plants per patient (up to five (5) patients)
  • Possessing no more than 2.5 oz. of usable marijuana (or its equivalent) per patient
  • All cultivation must take place in an “enclosed, locked facility” that is only accessible to said caregiver

The Dexter Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing for February 1, 2021, to get public input for considering a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to define marijuana and establish medical use of marijuana as a home occupation.

This action is based on the City Attorney's recommendation following a ruling this past spring by the Michigan Supreme Court in the Deruiter v Township of Byron case.

A summary of the case can be found in the City Council’s packet for its January 11, 2021, meeting posted on the City’s website.

Dexter Community Development Manager, Michelle Aniol, explained to the Council that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that municipalities can regulate marijuana grown by a caregiver for use in their patients' treatment. The regulations would fall under land use.

Dexter’s City Attorney recommended using the Byron Township code “because it has withstood a challenge, and that’s what the Planning Commission will consider in February at the public hearing,” explained Aniol.

A sharp delineation exists, however, between medical marijuana home occupation and other cannabis transactions. Aniol pointed out that a medical marijuana home occupation “does not allow any commercial sales, transmission, distribution, or cultivation in the commercial or industrial sense. It does not allow the sale or distribution for recreational purposes.”

Aniol also clarified that a medical marijuana home occupation “allows a qualified permitted caregiver to grow the plant and use his or her cultivars for medical purposes. Distribution to patients is not permitted on the property. A sale cannot happen on the property. The only thing the home occupation allows is for that caregiver to grow the plant and then deliver it to where the patient is housed for distribution.”

The proposed text amendment can be found in the Planning Commission’s January 4, 2021, packet posted on the City’s website.

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