Troy City Council tightens up rules for marijuana caregiver facilities

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 8, 2018

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TROY — The Troy City Council unanimously approved stricter rules for existing marijuana caregiver facilities recently, even though the effects of this November’s statewide recreational marijuana ballot question are unknown. 

The City Council unanimously approved the Marihuana Grow Operation License Ordinance April 23. 

State statute, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, empowers municipalities to opt in to allow commercial medical marijuana facilities in their communities, and it allows local police access to a statewide registry of patients and caregivers. The new city ordinance allows police to conduct inspections of the facilities and caps the number of facilities at 36. 

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm explained that the new ordinance does not allow information about caregivers or patients to be released.  

The state of Michigan began to accept license applications Dec. 15 for medical marijuana growing facilities that allow applicants to request a license before they’ve secured a location.

In September 2016, state lawmakers passed and the governor signed into law three bills that created a licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana, including the MMFLA, which allows commercial facilities to grow up to 1,500 plants, and for five types of licenses for the grow operations to be stacked together in one facility.

The act introduced five kinds of licenses: grower, processor, provisioning center, secure transporter and safety compliance center licenses.

In February, the city of Troy opted out of allowing and regulating medical marijuana growing facilities in the city, but that decision won’t affect current facilities or licenses. The City Council voted 4-3 Feb. 5 to opt out. 

Councilman Dave Henderson had brought the matter forward as a council referral item. 

Henderson, Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek, Mayor Pro Tem Edna Abrahim and Councilman Ethan Baker voted to exercise the city’s option to not allow medical marijuana facilities as defined by the state statute (MMFLA). 

Mayor Dane Slater, and Councilmen Ed Pennington and David Hamilton voted against opting out. 

Hodorek said that although she is pro medical marijuana, it is not an industry that fits in Troy. Hamilton said the new state regulations are untested, and he wants to take a “wait and see” approach and see what happens with other municipalities.

The city did not previously have a licensing ordinance, but rather issued certificates of occupancy through the Building Department before the council issued a moratorium on new facilities in April 2017. 

Before the moratorium, the city granted 78 occupancy permits allowing medical marijuana caregiver grow operations. 

Of those, Grigg Bluhm couldn’t say how many actual caregiver grow operations there are in the city. The cost for the licenses will be $1,500. 

Of those that currently hold certificates of occupancy, all may apply for a license on an annual basis, which the city will limit to 36 facilities. The MMFLA requires registered caregivers to choose between continuing a caregiver grow operation — which can serve up to six patients with up to 72 plants for each registered patient — or being involved in a medical marijuana facility grow operation. 

Because of that, Grigg Bluhm said, officials  expect a reduction in caregiver operations in the city.

The new ordinance requires a background check and verification of the registration status of the caregiver and the connected patients. The ordinance allows for an appeal if the license is suspended or revoked.

Staff Writer Nick Mordowanec contributed to this report.