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Monday, December 6,2010

Enough votes?

The opposition to a medical marijuana ordinance needs to find one more vote before tonight’s Lansing City Council meeting

by Andy Balaskovitz
Monday, Dec. 6 — Opponents to a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses in Lansing need to secure one more vote in order to block it at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The Council needs five yes votes to approve it. Council Vice President Kathie Dunbar and Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko have already stated their opposition. At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood and First Ward Councilman Eric Hewitt both support it.

As of last week, At-Large Council members Brian Jeffries and Derrick Quinney and Second Ward Councilwoman Tina Houghton were undecided on how they would vote. They did not return calls for comment.

That leaves the Council President A’Lynne Robinson. However, she and Dunbar will not be present at tonight’s meeting because they are at a Michigan Works Association conference in Florida until Tuesday. Dunbar said Robinson was likely a yes vote.

That means five of the six members will have to vote yes to approve the moratorium, and Yorko is one of the six.

Wood and Hewitt have stated their support for the moratorium so that no more new businesses will start up without regulation. Hewitt has also stated his concerns about the “clustering” of businesses along Michigan Avenue, which is in his ward. There are 12 medical marijuana related businesses between U.S. 127 and Larch Street.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero vehemently opposes the moratorium because it would restrict commercial activity, he has said.

The moratorium would not allow any medical marijuana establishments to open until it is lifted. Those establishments are defined as any “nonresidential land use involving the growth, distribution, storage, or use of marihuana.”

If it passes, existing businesses would be grandfathered in, and any other business not included on the city’s list would need to confirm its existence before Monday night.

Since the ordinance was introduced last Monday, City Pulse has identified three more businesses that aren’t listed in the ordinance, including Mary Jane’s Compassion Club on Holmes Street, The Herbal Connection on Cedar Street and Evolve Medical Marijuana Services on Michigan Avenue.

Click here for a complete medical marijuana business directory.

In other scheduled business, three public hearings will be held (in addition to the moratorium public hearing) on an amendment to the city’s wireless cell phone tower ordinance and two related to an industrial facilities tax exemption for Foresight Property Investment at 2822 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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