PORTAGE, MI – One of the first decisions the new Portage City Council will have to make is what do about medical marijuana licensing – or not.
The council had scheduled a committee-of-the-whole meeting for Nov. 14 to discuss the issue, but changed that to 6 p.m. Dec. 19 to allow the new council to make the decision.
In a recent press release, city officials said that council meeting “may or may not be held, based upon future action by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board and the disposition of the Portage City Council.”
In other words, much depends on what the state does.
The LARA is sponsoring six meetings to instruct how to apply for a license along with demonstrating the seed-to-sale tracking system that will track medical marijuana from plants to processed product. More than 1,000 people have signed up, with sessions added in the Detroit and Lansing areas because of the interest.
The closest Kalamazoo area session will be 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Wing’s Conference Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, in Kalamazoo. About 187 people have signed up for it.
The state is taking applications beginning Dec. 15 for the five categories of licenses — growing, processing, testing, transporting and retail selling. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board will begin awarding licenses early next year.
Portage has been wrestling with what to do about medical marijuana dispensaries for at least two years. Last November the council extended its six-month-old medical marijuana moratorium for a year while the state dealt with procedures.
Council voting on the issue has been affected by the fact Portage Mayor Pete Strazdas has excused himself from voting or participating in the medical marijuana discussion because he has a family member who is employed at