Township tweaks marijuana rules

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette From left to right: Portage Township trustees Bill Bingham and Peggy Anderson and Supervisor Bruce Petersen.

PORTAGE — The Portage Township Board made minor changes to its marijuana ordinance on Monday.

The board added a provision for a time stamp to applications received based on the date submitted.

Initially, the ordinance did not have a limit on the number of marijuana dispensaries, making the section unnecessary. However, the number of dispensaries permitted in the township was set to three, requiring the new section. Only two other facilities can be approved under the ordinance as it stands now.

The added section reads: “Once the clerk receives a complete application including the initial annual medical marijuana facility fee, the application shall be time and date stamped.”

The amendment also outlined how applications will be considered, authorized and withdrawn:

•Applications will be considered in consecutive time and date stamped order.

•Once the limit on the number of authorized facilities is reached, any additional applications shall be held in consecutive time and date stamped order for future conditional authorization.

•Submission withdrawals must be made in writing to receive a filing fee refund.

A public hearing of the ordinance and the changes will be held in February prior to the regular monthly meeting.

Trustee William Fink objected to restricting the number of facilities to three, because restrictive regulations would be time-consuming if changes are necessary in future.

“It seems pointless to me to go through all the effort of creating a new ordinance and then having to turn around and piecemeal decide to have things like growers and secure transporters,” Fink said, referring to the need to approve each type of facility individually under current laws.

Portage is only permitting dispensaries at this time.

Other trustees took a wait-and-see position.

“We should stay exactly where we’re at right now and see where the chips fall,” said trustee Bill Bingham.

Bingham mentioned the high likelihood of more state-level changes within the coming year.

Trustee John Ollila declared he would take no action until he knew more about the other types of marijuana facilities.

“I’m not opposed, personally, to the other types of things, but I’m certainly not going to decide on them before I’m educated on them,” he said.