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Another local municipality bans marijuana facilities

Marie Havenga • Dec 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Like many of its neighbors, Spring Lake Township is putting restrictions in place after Michigan voters’ approval last month of Proposal 1, which legalizes recreational marijuana.

The Township Board earlier this week unanimously approved a ban on marijuana establishments within township.

The City of Ferrysburg passed a similar ban last week, following the City of Grand Haven.

The Spring Lake Township ban prohibits recreational and medical establishments, and also bans the smoking of marijuana in public places.

“I think this is pretty consistent with what our neighbors are considering or have considered,” Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said. “I don't think it's inconsistent with the recent election that we had.”

Unlike voters in the city of Grand Haven, the majority of Spring Lake Township voters said “no” to Proposal 1 on Nov. 6.

“People still have certain rights to use marijuana within their own homes and to possess small amounts,” Gallagher said. “That's not something we can legislate locally.”

Gallagher said he believes the ban is in line with the conservative nature of the township.

“I think it does follow the consistent, conservative philosophy of the Spring Lake area,” he explained. “Because of the changes in the law, people still have the right to have their own plants at their home.”

The township’s longtime attorney, Ron Bultje of Grand Rapids-based Dickinson Wright, drafted the ordinance, which was shared and tweaked by area municipalities.

Municipalities are allowed to ban marijuana facilities, limit the number of licenses for such businesses or limit them to specific zones.

The new recreational marijuana law took effect Dec. 6. Adults age 21 and older may carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 15 grams of concentrate, keep up to 10 ounces at their home, and grow up to 12 plants inside their home.

Meekhof’s lame-duck bill

A bill in the state Senate, introduced by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, would ban individuals from growing plants at home, lower the tax rate on marijuana, and prevent schools and roads from receiving revenue from a marijuana tax. The bill aims to send marijuana tax revenue to local governmental units — 25 percent to municipalities, 30 percent to counties and 5 percent to county sheriff’s offices.

Meekhoff also wants to lower the tax rate on recreational marijuana from 10 to 3 percent. The current 3 percent tax on medical marijuana will be dropped under the current law.

Many political analysts say it's very unlikely the Senate has enough votes, which would be a super majority to pass the bill, but Meekhof says it's still on the table.

"As I've dealt with other state leaders on this, they have all said that they wished they would have done something different with the homegrow operation and many of my friends have said that they were supportive of recreational marijuana and this piece they missed and should have done it better, and we're hoping to do that," Meekhof told WZZM-TV for a story Thursday. "If it's going to be in play, it has to be taken up today."

As of press time Thursday night, the bill had yet to be taken up by the Legislature, whose lame-duck session ends Dec. 20.

WZZM-TV contributed to this report.

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