Lawsuit threat leveled as Holland Township has first reading of its medical marijuana rules

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — Threats of a lawsuit and accusations of violating the law were leveled at the Township Board Thursday during the first reading of its medical marijuana distribution ordinance.

Monica Bakker, a representative of a local medical marijuana dispensary, accused the seven-member board of staying behind after the adjournment of its March 3 meeting to discuss and give instructions on a ordinance being prepared by the township Planning Commission.

“You violated the Michigan Open Meetings Act and broke the law and we intend to sue the township if this passes. We do not want to do that,” said Bakker, community outreach director of Patient Solutions 421, which currently operates a dispensary in the township.

Township Supervisor Terry Nienhuis denied the board violated Open Meetings Act.
“It didn’t occur. It’s an incorrect statement,” Nienhuis said, declining to comment further on the accusation.

Township planners approved an ordinance requiring the licensing of the premise used for the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana. Only the address of the facility will be needed for the license, not the name of the caregiver.

The proposed ordinance does not permit dispensaries, or require the names and addresses of patients.

“We feel the intent of the state law is for individual caregivers to provide medical marijuana. We don’t want to see a lot of storefronts (for distribution) that could multiply,” Nienhuis said.

Joe Cain, CEO of Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, called the ordinance “unconstitutional and illegal” and said he would also sue the board on behalf of patients if it is approved.

“Only the Michigan Legislature with a three-quarters majority can change the (medical marijuana) act, not this board,” said Cain, calling the collection of addresses for caregivers the same as requiring names.

The board has the medical marijuana ordinance on its May 19 agenda for a second reading and consideration.



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