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Watson Twp. to take it slow on local medical pot ordinance

Watson Township officials Thursday night indicated they’ll be taking their time crafting a proposed ordinance to permit medical marijuana facilities within its borders.

Township Board members heard from Trustee Chuck Andrysiak that the Planning Commission last month discussed the ordinance extensively and examined sample ordinances from elsewhere, but because state rules governing dispensaries are still hazy.

“We still keep learning things as we go,” Andrysiak said, noting the Michigan Licensing and Regulation Authority (LARA) now is talking about delaying regulations decisions until the first quarter of 2018 rather than the end of this year.

John Caras and Scott Hershberger, who plan to set up a production facility in the township, asked the board if they could make a local medical marijuana ordinance a higher priority to speed up the process, but Andrysiak replied, “Even if we move this up in priority, I don’t think we could have an ordinance ready by Dec. 15.”

Caras told the board if he and his partners don’t have a local ordinance in place, they cannot proceed with their project.

“The changes they (the state) are working on aren’t wide sweeping enough to affect the township,” Caras said. He suggested the township adopt a perhaps imperfect ordinance to provide a general framework for his project by Dec. 15.

But Treasurer Sue Jones said, “I’d rather do this right the first time and then have it be done with.”

Andrysiak added, “It’ll be on the lower burner (for the Planning Commission while works on a new sign ordinance), but it will be dealt with.”

The State Legislature about a year ago passed a law permitting local governments to allow medical marijuana grow operations, dispensaries and distributions centers. At first, it was said that a state board would meet to hammer out rules by Dec. 15 of this year, but it appears the work has been delayed.

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