The Royal Oak City Commission on Monday unanimously rejected a request to suspend the city’s moratorium on commercial businesses involving medical marijuana, blocking — at least for now — the attempt by a warehouse owner to turn his building into the state’s largest marijuana growing facility.
The 7-0 vote to keep in place a 180-day moratorium passed in May came near midnight after a packed, lengthy meeting at which dozens of citizens spoke for and against allowing medical marijuana businesses in the Michigan city, reports Bill Laitner of the Detroit Free Press.
Landlord James Canner met with city officials in May in hopes of avoiding foreclosure on his 23,000-square-foot warehouse by leasing it to a tenant who would convert it into roughly two dozen grow rooms for medical marijuana caregivers, reports Jonathan Oosting at MLive.com.
If approved and leased to capacity, it is believed the facility would have been the largest of its type in Michigan.
The warehouse in question, in an industrial area, is empty. Canner told commissioners the building faces foreclosure if he is not allowed to lease it for medical marijuana cultivation.
Royal Oak City Commissioner Chuck Semchena, former drug prosecutor and full-time moron, claims medical marijuana dispensaries will “breed crime”
But Canner was not convincing enough in his argument that he had no other options, claimed City Commissioner Chuck Semchena on Tuesday.
Royal Oak, like many other Michigan cities, imposed a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses, “and we don’t think there’s a medical marijuana emergency” that would keep Canner from waiting until the city’s moratorium expires in October before he applies for the new use for his warehouse, Semchena said dismissively.
In a separate but related issue, the City Commission voted to send to the city’s planning commission a proposal to change Royal Oak’s zoning ordinance so as to virtually ban commercial marijuana operations. Detroit suburbs Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia have all taken that step.
A company named Mary Jane’s Flowers has requested an exemption to the moratoriuum with plans to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront on Main Street. More than 20 other marijuana-related businesses have expressed interest in setting up shop in the economically blighted city.
But Commissioner Semchena, a former drug prosecutor, was having none of that, claiming that dispensaries will “breed crime.” He proposed permanently extending Royal Oak’s moratorium — never mind all that new business that is sorely needed in a city with so many vacant storefronts!
“We’ve already had contacts by our planing department by at least 20 businesses that want to locate in here, and that’s in addition to the mega growth farm that’s being proposed on the north end of Royal Oak,” Semchena said.
Whoa, I guess we can’t have all those jobs and economic growth coming to town, eh, Commissioner Semchena? Well, with “leadership” like Semchena’s, at least that goes a long way towards explaining the shape Royal Oak is in.
“I’d like to create an ordinance that would ban these facilities in Royal Oak and have that ordinance in place until there’s some affirmative action taken by our friends in Lansing to correct the flaws in the state law,” Semchena told Fox 2.
“I think there’s a way to do this through doctor’s prescriptions and pharmacies where people can pick their prescription medications up and that would eliminate all the additional crime that would occur,” Semchena said, displaying his ignorance on a number of points, chiefly the fact the since marijuana is a Schedule I substance, doctor’s cant prescribe it (they can only recommend and authorize it) and pharmacies can’t stock it.
An overwhelming 70 percent of Royal Oak residents voted for the 2008 ballot proposal which legalized medical marijuana in Illinois.