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Posted on: November 10, 2016

Mayor’s Proposed Ordinance Aims to Improve Safety of Medical Marihuana Cultivation in Neighborhoods

(LANSING) – Mayor Virg Bernero was joined today by city officials and community stakeholders to announce a proposed ordinance that aims to make Lansing neighborhoods safer by requiring the registration and inspection of legal, home-based medical marihuana grow facilities.

The proposed ordinance aims to prevent fire hazards caused by overloaded electrical circuits at residential properties where marijuana is legally grown and provides the city with additional tools to address quality-of-life issues related to home-based marihuana cultivation, which sometimes creates nuisance odors that can be detrimental to quality of life in the neighborhood.

“While state law makes it legal for registered patients and caregivers to grow their own medical marihuana, it is our responsibility in city government to ensure that it is done safely and does not create a neighborhood nuisance,” Mayor Bernero said. “If approved by the City Council, this new ordinance will give us the tools we need to ensure that marihuana growing in residential areas is done in compliance with the law and in a safe manner that protects the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

Mayor Bernero noted that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), approved by state voters in 2008, made it legal for registered medical marihuana patients and caregivers to grow a limited number of plants. Under the city’s existing ordinance, a registered caregiver can cultivate marihuana in their home.

City officials noted that they have seen a recent increase in safety issues related to home-based marihuana growing operations, primarily due to overloaded electrical circuits that create a fire hazard. The mayor’s proposed ordinance would require any home occupation, including medical marihuana cultivation, that uses an unusually high amount of electricity to register with the City of Lansing and allow the premises to be inspected by the city’s fire marshal and building safety inspectors. Any hazards or deficiencies identified through the inspection have to be corrected within a specified period of time.

Under the state MMMA, a registered medical marihuana patient is allowed to grow up to 12 marihuana plants for personal medicinal use. A registered medical marihuana caregiver is allowed to grow up to 72 plants for not more than five patients, which includes up to 12 plants for their personal use (if they are also a registered patient). Under city ordinance, the marihuana growing facility must be in an enclosed, locked area of the home where the caregiver resides. The ordinance does not permit marihuana growing in vacant homes or in zoning districts other than residential.

The proposed ordinance will be referred to the Lansing City Council this Monday night, November 14, at their regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting. The City Council is expected to refer the ordinance to the appropriate committee to begin the review and approval process.

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