Watson joint meeting to discuss medical marijuana rules

The Watson Township Board will have a joint meeting with the Planning Commission at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, to talk about the crafting of a local medical marijuana ordinance and about how best to “opt in” to the new state law permitting facilities that dispense, process, grow, and distribute the substance.

Watson is the only local municipality that has expressed interest in allowing dispensaries and grow operations after the State Legislature a year ago passed a law that permitted local governments to regulate them.

Watson Township Supervisor Kevin Travis said Thursday night of the Planning Commission, “It sounds like they’re looking for input.”

Trustee Chuck Andrysiak, who is the Township Board’s liaison on the Plan Commission, said, “I think the idea of a joint meeting will be helpful… There’s more things (information) coming out of LARA (the state licensing agency) just about every week.”

The township earlier this year agreed to look into preparing a local ordinance permitting medical marijuana facilities after several interested parties approached board members at meetings. Some have provided sample ordinances adopted elsewhere in the state, but Watson has decided to take the process slowly.

The latest interest was brought to the board Thursday evening by a representative from Patient Provisions from Plainwell, who indicated that organization would like to have a storefront facility to sell medical marijuana to qualified patients. The board took no action.

Andrysiak said the Planning Commission has been working on a sign ordinance and has been working with Lori Castello of Professional Code Inspections on learning more about what could be involved if a local ordinance is adopted. Members learned it may be difficult to shut down a facility that isn’t meeting requirements.

In other business at Thursday night’s meeting, the Township Board:

• Learned that its share of the cost for a new rescue truck for the Hopkins Area Fire Department will be $46,406, which by next fiscal year will be covered by the township’s special fire fund, which now totals $35,000, but will increase by next April.

• Approved payment of $2,090 over three years for 3D imagery for assessing. “I see assessors using this tool and it’s pretty slick,” Travis told his colleagues. “I’m excited about it.”

• Was surprised that the cost estimates from Consumers Energy for removing old street lights and installing new were higher than anticipated. It was reported that the high cost has a lot to do with shutting down the roads to remove the lights.

• Approved the snow plowing bid of $2,600 for the season from Scott Langley and ATS Enterprises of Allegan.

• Was introduced to Hopkins District Library Director Elyshia Schafer, who took the time to promote two upcoming free practical classes at the library on plumbing and car maintenance.



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