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February 16 2017 Open Forum Summary

CITY COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING, PUBLIC FORUM SUMMARY
Thursday, February 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Buchanan City Hall

Pursuant to Charter Section 6.2 the Special Meeting was called to hear public comments about Medical Marijuana (mm).  
 
The Mayor called the Public Forum to order at 7:00 p.m.

Commissioner’s present: Carla Cole, Brenda Hess, Patricia Moore, Dale Toerne, Dan Vigansky        
Absent:                none
Staff:                    City Manager Bill Marx, Assistant City Attorney Rick Racht, Clerk Gladys Bybee
Guests:                40 plus

The Mayor did Introductions and announced House Rules.  

Commissioner Moore read a letter received from Kathleen Petitjean, Main Street in support.
Eric Nordyke, Front Street stated he has post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) and supports.
John Wallace, N Redbud Trail did circulate petitions to open a Medical Cannabis Dispensary and supports it himself
Alan Robandt, E Front Street supports the mm in the business aspect as it will help the economy. 
Sheila Daly, Ottawa Street hopes community has compassion. She supports mm but not recreational.
Josh Albert, Red Arrow Highway in Lakeside stated Michigan has over 200,000 patients and the new law has a lot of challenges but needs consistency for patients. He wants Buchanan to have a growing center. 
Margaret Young, Arctic Street stated she is not against it, mm should be a person’s choice but does not want it in a residential district.
Jean Burns, Bluff Street commented that numerous children are in the proposed area and three churches.  She supports mm just not in residential district. 
William Hodges, State Line Road believes there is a need in the community and opening a dispensary will take it off of the streets and follow the law. Berrien County should enforce the law.
Vanessa Burns, 808 W Front Street, Hospice Social Worker supports mm but not on Bluff Street.
Linda Fox, Knight Drive is a Therapist dealing with drug and alcohol use and lost two family members to drug overdoses. Marijuana is a gateway drug. She opposes.
Jeannie Harris, Bluff St. lives right down the street from the proposed location and it was a drug infested neighborhood and is disgusted that the Commission would consider putting it on Bluff and Redbud Trail.  She does not support it but is not against people that need or use it.

Cindy Benson, Cecil Street is not against it but does not want it in her neighborhood and okayed it at the bank building next to the police department not in Electro Voice as it is also in a neighborhood.
JT Williams, not against marijuana just not in family neighborhoods, undesirable traffic, against growing it in the City, single women on northeast side, does not want to deprive of use, just not in a neighborhood.
Phyllis Taylor was concerned for the overwhelming traffic.
Eric Hatman, W Front Street says it is a gateway drug and other drugs work better.  Buchanan is a wholesome place and mm will bring in undesirables.  Is just like a strip joint and he is opposed. 
Pastor Hayes-Taylor has the Church on Redbud Trail and says if the drug helps fine. Says Buchanan people are already smoking it but does not want it in his neighborhood or anyone else’s neighborhood. 
Gregory Hines, Able Road summarized information from the Center for Disease Control; reproductive harm, adverse effects on heart function, anti-motivational syndrome, diminished lower life satisfaction, less academic. Opposed.
Norma Ferris, Oak St does not want it.
The clerk read two letters received by email opposing the mm.
Paula Witherow, Chamberlain Road is concerned that the location isn’t anything that should be taken lightly and it is disturbing that mm is about economic development. Kids attended Stark School and still play there. It is vacant and not a place for marijuana.
Believes there is lack of knowledge of grow operations and it smells badly.
Kathy Kay, Third Street, opposes mm in Buchanan. She feels bad for patients in need. Thanks to people who oppose it. Believes it leads to other drugs.
Corey Davis, Lake Street stated he was prescribed pharmaceuticals and he is a cannabis patient. Restrictions should be cannabis friendly zoning.  He read local statistics and wants what’s best for the people.  He went door to door and received signatures in support. He expressed his dismay for the current methadone clinics.
Eric Hagman says it is still illegal federally, how come it is not being enforced.  
Attorney Rick Racht responds the Federal Government cannot preempt State Law.
Pastor Taylor asked when a vote would be taken. 
Dan Vigansky we can write the law now to enforce a possible future recreational law.
Josh Albert asks how many of each type business would Buchanan allow. 
Dale Toerne read an article from AARP magazine about five states voted for recreational marijuana in 2016 and other states voted for mm.
Kathy Kay and Norma Ferris opposed.
Robert Tucker, Elizabeth Street asked what the last violent crime was in Buchanan.  He thinks of his grandkids and asks whoever to think about crime and grandkids when it is called for a vote.
Jeannie Harris asks if a City that has mm can restrict distances from School’s.
Attorney says growers are against the law now. Once licensing becomes valid they can be restricted and will be treated under the zoning ordinance. Can be a special use and restricted to zones.
Josh Albert Lakeside stated Detroit has restricted the areas for mm.
William Haas, stated the City can structure this issue and do it correctly and it will bring in workers and economic development.

JT Williams asks why the pharmaceutical companies have not gotten involved. Vigansky wants to make laws to benefit Buchanan. 
Eric Nordyke stated he did work with marijuana and believes recreational will be brought forward and we need to do what’s right for Buchanan. Does not want to see Buchanan stuck with this menace.
The Mayor spoke briefly about the strict laws and the Commission being compassionate. She stated the subject does not have a simple solution and encouraged discussion.

There being no further discussion the Mayor adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

________________________________    
Gladys M. Bybee, City Clerk         
 

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