Buchanan Following a successful legislative push this past year in Michigan to provide better access to medical marijuana for those authorized to use it, Buchanan could be in line for some of the areas first dispensaries of the drug.
Were getting two to three calls a week, about welcoming marijuana dispensaries, Buchanan City Manager Bill Marx said during Mondays commissioners meeting.
During the same meeting, Buchanan Township resident John Wallace proposed a medical marijuana dispensary to be run out of a 1,000-square-foot building in the 1100 block of North Red Bud Trail.
He said the property could serve the 1,400 people in Berrien County with permission to legally purchase medical marijuana.
While the land is currently zoned commercial, Marx said zoning laws would have to be updated to specifically allow for the sale of medical marijuana.
Marx said hes coming up to speed on the three-bill package signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September to clarify the states voter-approved medical marijuana law adopted in 2008, and expects the commissioners to be ready to start deciding the issue in spring 2017.
The law allows for the creation of dispensaries where people with a medical marijuana card can choose from a variety of products, including edible forms of the drug. Currently, medical marijuana in Michigan is provided by a caretaker who can serve no more than five patients a year.
Marx said dispensaries would not be allowed to grow their own product, but rather obtain it through a licensed and highly state regulated provider.
Commissioner Dan Vigansky said he supports the new law, but has concerns about the level of security needed for such a facility.
Wallace said he plans on having 24-hour surveillance cameras, but Vigansky advised more extreme measures may be required.
Im talking about guns and dogs, Vigansky said.
Despite a softening stance on marijuana nationwide, Commissioner Carla Cole worried how well a dispensary here would be publicly received.
Im concerned were going to have some very unhappy people, Cole said.
Under the new law, a percentage of the revenue from a dispensary would go to local and state governments. In Buchanan that amount would equate to 3 percent, officials said.
Supporters also point to small business development and job creation opportunities from having such facilities.
I think it could be a valuable asset to a lot of people in the area, Wallace said.