PORTAGE, MI — It took an estimated 500 hours, but the city of Portage reached a decision on whether medical marijuana facilities can open.
Tuesday, the City Council voted 4-2 to approve two ordinances allowing five types of state-licensed medical marijuana facilities to operate within Portage. The decision came after months of rewrites and thorough debate.
“(We) have been working on this for many, many months,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jim Pearson. “This council (has not been) unanimous, and those who opposed contributed to the betterment of (the ordinances).”
Councilman Terry Urban and Councilmember Claudette Reid voted against the ordinances. Mayor Patricia Randall was not present at the meeting.
A first reading of the ordinances sparked a long discussion and a few revisions on Jan. 24. A series of changes followed and the council delayed a vote scheduled for Feb. 27 after deciding more time was needed to review holes in the documents.
The ordinances authorize medical marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters, provisioning centers and safety compliance facilities to open. They do not set a limit on the number, instead using zoning and buffers to set a soft cap.
Urban thanked city staff for clearing up confusion that arose from a previous version of the ordinances, which had a hand in delaying the February vote.
However, he could not support the ordinances as written.
Urban said he feels that only four facilities in each of the five areas should be allowed, based on his interpretation of a fall city survey and concerns expressed by others about having no limit on the number of medical marijuana operations.
“There is an ordinance I would support,” Urban said. “It is obvious that our citizens do want some access for this and I am more than willing to go along with that. This is not