In mid-Michigan, the rapid growth of medical marijuana dispensaries has proven to be controversial. More than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries have registered with the city of Lansing, prompting the City Council this month to pass its one-year moratorium on new dispensaries. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero fought the moratorium, contending its supporters were trying to usurp the will of state voters. But supporters say it makes sense to study how best to regulate the budding industry before it transformed the city into an “Amsterdam” – the European city that is a focal point for legalized drugs.
In mid-Michigan, the biggest spotlight has shone on a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in the spring in Williamstown Township – an establishment that doubled as a club where patients could smoke the product. Two months later, authorities raided the Green Leaf Smokers Club and arrested its founder, Wayne Frederick Dagit, after police allege he agreed to buy 50 pounds of marijuana from an undercover informant.
Supporters say dispensaries are merely centralized locations where patients can buy the marijuana grown by their specific caregivers. Critics contend such dispensaries should be licensed in a manner similar to pharmacies. These critics fail to recognize that the local municipalities have the authority to do just that, license the “dispensary” as a business with authority to operate, because the State law is silent on the matter. This is not a new concept. Cities such as Walled Lake have done just that.