NILES — Despite warnings that it won’t withstand a court challenge, the Niles City Council on Monday night approved without objection an ordinance regulating activities related to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act.
Essentially, the ordinance requires that marijuana be grown indoors. Also, caregivers who provide the drug for patients — they can supply as many as 12 plants each, for up to five patients — cannot do so within 1,000 feet of schools and could be subject to zoning restrictions.
Several residents raised questions about the ordinance, as did Brian Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association. Francisco called it “a bad law,” citing the 1,000-foot school zone restriction, the “under roof” growing requirement and the possibility special-use permits may be required for caregivers.
But Mayor Mike McCauslin and City Administrator Terry Eull defended it, arguing the council’s intent is to protect the community.
This is a Google Earth snapshot of Niles, Michigan. The orange spots represent the 1000′ radius around local schools in Niles. So long as you do not live in an orange neighborhood, you can grow medical marijuana for yourself and other patients, according Mayor McCauslin.
Yet the biggest growing problem of drug abuse among our nation’s youth these days are illicit pharmaceuticals. Can you imagine a mayor and a city council telling residents of Niles’ orange neighborhoods they could no longer store prescriptions for Oxycontin and Vicodin in their homes?
I can understand a limit to only growing indoors from the perspective of public safety. I don’t agree with it, of course, but at least it has a logical basis. If you’re growing outdoors, that’s soon to be local knowledge and possibly set you up for a robbery. If you’re growing indoors it’s more likely to be kept secret.
But what is the rationale for keeping secret indoor grows 1000′ away from a school?