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Monday, March 18,2013

The list shrinks

Lansing cleans up its medical marijuana moratorium ordinance while East Lansing City Council votes to allow dispensaries

by Andy Balaskovitz
Thursday, March 24 — The city of Lansing has whittled down the number of medical marijuana dispensaries that can operate during the roughly six-month moratorium that is scheduled to end on July 1.

Sixty-seven businesses were eligible to operate during the moratorium. But today City Clerk Chris Swope said that 29 have been removed from the list. Swope said some were removed because they did not respond to a letter requesting updated information. Others were taken off because their addresses are in residential neighborhoods, where they cannot operate legally, he said.

Swope also said “a couple” of businesses that were in the original ordinance asked to be removed, such as Alternative Choice Clinic at 2310 E. Michigan Ave., because it considers itself a doctor recommendation service — not a dispensary.

Two businesses — Top Shelf Budz, 1723 E. Michigan Ave., and First Class Flight, 4215 N. Grand River Ave. — were added to the list because they proved that they were operating before the moratorium took effect, Swope said.

The Lansing City Council unanimously approved a moratorium on any new medical marijuana businesses at its Dec. 6 meeting. Included in the moratorium was a list of the 67 businesses that claimed to be in operation already and therefore were allowed to stay open.

At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said any businesses in operation that aren’t on the revised list will be shut down by the Lansing Police Department for violating the ordinance.

“My understanding is that a letter will go out saying they’re in violation of the ordinance and can no longer do business,” Wood said, adding that she doesn’t know how many dispensaries are operating in Lansing that haven’t been grandfathered in.

Meanwhile, East Lansing’s City Council voted March 15 to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in certain areas of East Lansing.

Businesses can open in B-4 zoned areas of East Lansing once the Council votes to lift the moratorium that has been in place since August. B-4 zoning generally includes professional office buildings and does not include downtown East Lansing.

Wood said the City Attorney’s Office is working on Lansing’s ordinance that would regulate dispensaries. She said she expects a draft ordinance to surface by the end of April.

Click here
for the list of the businesses and the revised ordinance.
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