By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — In response to several local businesses suspected of illegally dispensing medical marijuana, City Council members have tightened up an existing moratorium on marijuana-related businesses.
At their April 12 meeting, members approved a modification to the six-month moratorium, which was passed Feb. 8. The modification spells out that it will not consider new applications for medical marijuana caregivers, grow operations, dispensaries, counseling services or physicians who prescribe medical marijuana.
The clarification comes after the city received word of up to four businesses that may be dispensing the substance without proper registration, as required by the Medical Marihuana Act passed in 2008. Those businesses are currently under investigation by local police and other law enforcement organizations.
“We do have an instance where a business came in representing that they were a counseling service,” Assistant City Attorney Chris Forsyth said, “when the information we’re receiving is that they are growing and dispensing marijuana. In this instance, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Councilwoman Beverly Kelley asked how the moratorium could restrict physicians coming into the city who plan to prescribe but not dispense marijuana.
“Until the courts have ruled, it’s best to stay out of the area altogether and not to ask for some trouble,” City Administrator David Tamsen said.
The moratorium was passed in the wake of lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Birmingham, Livonia and Bloomfield Hills alleging ordinances prohibiting dispensing marijuana is in violation of the Medical Marihuana Act.
“This is a very litigious topic on both sides of the fence,” City Attorney Todd Flood said. “So I think the moratorium the way it’s worded (following the modification) is prudent.”
At the time of the Feb. 18 passage of the moratorium, officials said they were not aware of any medical marijuana-related businesses operating within city limits.