Dexter Township is looking at allowing medical marijuana caregivers

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Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Dexter Township is considering amending its zoning ordinance to allow medical marijuana caregivers under some specific standards and regulations.

At its Nov. 16 meeting, the township board had a first reading of the draft resolution for the Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Medical Marijuana Caregivers in Dexter Township.

The board discussed such things as location with minimum acreage as one topic of debate.

In getting to this point, one has to go back to this past summer when the township board at their July 20 meeting, put in place a six-month moratorium on Medical Marijuana establishments, businesses, and facilities. 

The Dexter Township Planning Commission, at their September 28 meeting, received and began looking further into a draft Medical Marijuana Caregivers ordinance amendment provided by the township attorney. The Planning Commission had a public hearing on Oct. 26, and then recommended the zoning ordinance amendment to the township board.

A medical marijuana caregiver is defined as someone who provides assistance to a qualified medical marijuana patient and legally supplies a patient with medical marijuana. A caregiver may have up to five patients registered to them, and can grow up to 12 plants for each of them, and if the caregiver is a patient themselves and has five patients, they can grow up to 72 cannabis marijuana plants.

According the drafted zoning ordinance amendment, it “is the intent of this subsection to regulate Medical Marihuana Registered Primary Caregivers as Home Occupations. This subsection is not intended to allow commercial marihuana grow operations within the Township, as prohibited by Ordinance 40.”

There is a list of regulations as part of this amendment.

A few of these are: no more than five Registered Qualifying Patients are permitted for each Caregiver Home Occupation; a maximum of one home occupation permit will be issued per residence and the medical use of marihuana shall comply at all times with the MMMA (Michigan Medical Marihuana Act) and the MMMA General Rules, as amended.

Each parcel upon which a caregiver is growing medical marijuana in an enclosed locked facilities must contain a minimum of 5 acres and be a minimum of 100 feet from any property line.

Board trustee Laura Sanders asked about the minimum acreage requirement, and wondered if this is too limiting and could exclude some residents from being caregivers. The question she posed considered changing it two acres rather than five.

Board trustee and planning commission liaison Karen Sikkenga said the planning commission talked extensively about the acreage and distance from a neighboring property line.

The proposed acreage size is consistent with the township’s agricultural districts while the property line requirement is conscious of potential odors.

At the meeting, it appeared the majority of the board was in support of five acres and the 100 feet minimum from any property line.

These requirements aim to consider those who might live next to a caregiver.

Another requirement includes the caregiver must own the parcel.

The township is expected to have a public hearing on this amendment at the Dec. 21 meeting.

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