It was standing room only in Portage Township Thursday night as the Board of Trustees met to discuss the topic of medical marijuana and whether or not to continue to allow the sale of it in the township.
“I will not take away someone’s medicine,” said trustee Tressa Alvarado, as the Portage Township Board unanimously passed an emergency ordinance to adopt the state’s new guidelines for regulating medical marijuana.
Township Supervisor Bruce Peterson said, “We have anywhere from 160 to 400 card members in the township and about 1600 in Houghton County. I think this will benefit a lot of people who are in desperate need for this medical marijuana.”
Michigan’s new law goes into effect today and, along with requiring municipalities to regulate at the local level, the law also outlines the medical marijuana production process into five categories.
Each township, city and village in the state had to make a decision by today if they wanted to administer an ordinance that would allow one or more of the categories to take place within their municipal jurisdiction.
“It makes me happy that patients like me and other patients have access to their medical marijuana, so I’m really happy about the outcome,” medical marijuana patient Tasha Smith, who attended last night’s meeting.
Although most of Portage Township’s trustees are not ready to approve the categories of commercial growth and processing without further review, they were all in agreement to continue to allow the sale of medical marijuana within the township limits.
This allows a dispensary located in the Copper Country Mall to remain open that would have had to close its doors today if the board had voted differently.
The township’s emergency ordinance caps the number of dispensaries at three, leaving two immediate openings.