Grand Rapids City Planning drafts medical marijuana ordinance

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It’s a very sensitive conversation and there are still many questions from both the public and city leaders. Especially considering that marijuana whether medicinal or recreational, is still illegal under federal law and marked as a Schedule I controlled substance.

City planners are making it clear that this ordinance is for medicinal marijuana only. While recreational is on the ballot for November, city planners will meet again to discuss those rules if that should pass.

There are five license categories which include, a growing facility, provisioning center, transporter facility, safety compliance facility and processing facility.

City planners made the decision to group provisioning centers separately from the other categories. They are recommending that these dispensaries be 1000 feet away from schools, daycare centers, parks with playground equipment and other provisioning centers. Facilities in the other four categories fall under a 650 foot buffer.

“I think the city should take a look back at itself and congratulate itself for beginning to move down the path of seriously considering the opt-in ordinance and authorizing the locations of the facilities within our community that will provide safe, affordable and accessible access to patients who need their medicine,” medical marijuana attorney Bob Hendricks said.

Many comparisons were made to the way alcohol is regulated. However city planners and some of the public say those are two different subjects. Alcohol is allowed to be consumed inside bars, by anyone over 21-years-old, and it is not considered medicine.

By contrast, medical marijuana consumption would not be allowed on site in these licensed facilities, can only be consumed by medical marijuana cardholders and it is not for recreational use.

This is not the final answer, city commissioners still have to make the determination but will use this ordinance from the planning commission in

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