By Jim Newell
The Orion Township Board of Trustees approved an amendment to Ordinance 154 Licensed Marihuana Facilities that will allow for medical marijuana facilities and caregiver operations in Orion Township.
The board held a public hearing and second reading of the proposed amendment during its meeting on Monday, then voted 6-0 to approve the amendment. Trustee Michael Flood was absent from the meeting.
The first reading of the ordinance amendment was during the board’s Sept. 7 meeting. The ordinance takes effect upon publication, today.
Clerk Penny Shults made the motion to approve the second reading and adopt the amendment. Trustee Brian Birney seconded the motion.
The application period for permits for the medical marihuana provisioning centers begins today and ends at 4 p.m. on Nov. 5, Shults said.
The purpose of the ordinance amendment is to provide the township with regulation over licensed marijuana facilities and caregiver operations.
“The updated medical marijuana ordinance allows for medical marijuana provisioning centers within the township,” said township attorney Dan Kelly. “It’s limited by the zoning regulations, which are contained within the ordinance. Basically, what we know from past experience, there will be very limited provisioning centers. It also provides for the regulation of caregivers.
“So, it’s more of a restrictive ordinance than anything else,” Kelly said. “It allows us to control marijuana facilities within the township consistent with some of the recent cases that have been passed. The ordinance also allows the township to perform and charge for inspections.”
Orion Township’s ordinance is separate from the State of Michigan process and approval for the state’s marijuana permit.
Kelly added that the ordinance is “really on the zoning level for us. So, we have to inspect the property, we have to make sure the property is up and up and operating correctly and is within the regulations of the zoning locally.”
Under the ordinance, the township can charge up to $5,000 annually for permit fees “to defray the cost of administration and enforcement of this Ordinance.”
The township can also charge a one-time $5,000 application fee, meaning the township would collect $10,000 the first year that a facility applies for a permit.
“It is a revenue generator for the township and that’s one of the reasons why we are looking at this. And that’s one of the reasons that the board agreed to allow us to build a new municipal complex, because we are using the revenue from the marijuana facilities to service the debt (on the municipal complex),” Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said.
Under the definitions in the ordinance, “’Provisioning Center’ or ‘Medical Marihuana Provisioning Center’ means a Licensed Facility located in Michigan that purchases marihuana from a Grower or Processor and sells, supplies, or provides medical marihuana to qualifying patients directly or through the patients’ primary caregivers, and includes any location where medical marihuana is sold at retail only to qualifying patients or primary caregivers.”
The board of trustees can limit the number of locations issued permits under the ordinance to: 12 Class C Growers, four medical marijuana provisioning centers, four safety compliance facilities and four secured transporters.
Ordinance 154 does not permit recreational sales and dispensaries within the township borders.
While the Village of Lake Orion is technically within the township, medical and retail dispensaries within the village borders are regulated by village ordinance. Currently, the village marijuana ordinance allows for two medical marijuana dispensaries and two recreational marijuana dispensaries at the south end of the village limits on M-24.
Copies of Ordinance 154 are on file in the township Clerk’s Office at Orion Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Rd., and may be examined during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.