Paw Paw council says “no” to marijuana facilities in the village

By: 
Robin Racette Griffin – couriereditorial@vineyardpress.biz

    PAW PAW - The Paw Paw Village Council at its November 26 meeting elected not to permit recreational marijuana facilities  to operate within the village limits, and sent a draft of a zoning ordinance prohibiting their establishment to the Village Planning Commission for its review and recommendations.
    Several potential proprietors of medical marihuana provisioning centers have approached the council over the past few months, urging village leaders to craft the necessary ordinance that would allow them to operate such businesses in Paw Paw. The council has been slow to take up the measure, and essentially had “opted out” simply by taking no action to allow the facilities.
    Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), which went into effect in 2016, required a municipality to “opt in,” or adopt an ordinance that specifically allowed medical marihuana establishments within its boundaries. However, with the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, approved by state voters in the Nov. 6 election, state-licensed marijuana facilities are permitted and a municipality must now adopt an ordinance expressly prohibiting the operations in order to “opt out.”
    Village Manager Sarah Moyer-Cale presented the council with a draft of a proposed amendment to the village’s zoning ordinances that would completely prohibit the establishment or operation of any and all types of marijuana establishments, prepared by attorney Mark A. Van Allsburg of Mika Meyers, PLC, Grand Rapids.
    Trustees Mary McIntosh and Nadine Jarvis expressed some support for allowing medical marihuana operations, and questioned if a ban on all facilities was what they wanted to do. McIntosh asked Village Police Chief Eric Marshall for his opinion. Marshall had expressed his concerns from a public safety standpoint over several past discussions. He had earlier suggested the council wait until after the general election to decide on any option.
    “The impact across the state of Michigan is going to be significant,” he said. “Medical marihuana would be good, if it was regulated like other drugs in our country, but it is not. And the state does not have all the regulations for recreational in place yet. We don’t know what that’s going to look like.
    “Because marijuana’s been legalized, the medical marihuana need is not going to be as great. ‘Medical’ marihuana essentially goes away; anybody can buy it now,” Marshall added. “How important is it to have these facilities in the village?  That’s up to you.”
    “We can opt out now and opt in later. We’re merely sending a proposed ordinance to opt out to the planning commission to make recommendations,” said Village President Roman Plaszczak.”
    The council voted to send the proposed ordinance amendment  to the Planning Commission, for its review. A public hearing will be held before the final draft is returned to the council for review and/or adoption.
    Other actions taken by the council at last Monday’s meeting included:
    •Approval of proposed in-creases in water and sewer rates;
    •Approval of the purchase of a 2020 Ford Explorer for the Village Police Department, to replace a 2012 Impala with over 100,000 miles. The vehicle will be purchased from Tapper Ford, Paw Paw;  and
    •Turned down a request from Habitat for Humanity to waive connection fees and infrastructure costs at properties under development on St. Joseph Street.
    At its November 12 meeting, the council approved a request from Deitz House Movers, who will be moving a house from Mattawan through the village, for relocation to a lot on Hazen Street; and voted 4-3 not to contract with the Southwest Michi-gan Planning Commission for the annual costs of maintaining a portion of the Paw Paw River Water Trail from the village’s canoe launch to 40th Street.

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32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
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