Portage sets Dec. 12 special meeting on medical marijuana

PORTAGE, MI – The Portage City Council will have a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, to consider an emergency ordinance to allow a medical marijuana dispensary to continue to operate.

Along with deciding if Lake Effect should stay in business while it pursues a state license, the council will also determine if it should pursue an ordinance on local control of medical marijuana facilities.

If it does, a special committee of the whole meeting has been set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 to talk about specifics of such an ordinance.

The council batted around times and dates for the special meeting Tuesday night before reaching a 4-2 vote on Dec. 12. The big indecision was around Councilwoman Claudette Reid’s indication she could not attend the session but would be available via some type of conference call. Five votes are needed for approval of the emergency ordinance.

The emergency ordinance comes about because the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs recently issued a bulletin that said in places where patients have developed relationships with caregiver facilities, municipalities can allow medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open past Dec. 15.

But, the department said, the local government must adopt an ordinance allowing it before then. Lake Effect, which has been allowed to operate in the city for more than two years, would need council action before Dec. 15, prompting the special meeting.

Medical marijuana entrepreneurs can apply to operate one of five types of facilities on Dec. 15, and LARA will begin giving out 1-year renewable licenses during the first quarter of 2018.

While one councilman, Terry Urban, said that the city did not need to take any action on an emergency ordinance – meaning Lake Effect could just shut down while it applies for a state license – most

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