Eaton council still working on medical marijuana ban

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — The City of Eaton was ready to issue a moratorium on the production of medical marijuana during a July meeting, but only had three council members present and thus could not make an official vote on the matter.

According to Administrative Secretary Marsha Shannon, the three members were able to conduct the regular business under a quorum, but in order to adopt the emergency ordinance for medical marijuana, there would have to be a super-majority, which is four council members.

While they did not vote on the issue during the meeting on July 17, council did have additional discussion regarding the moratorium.

The moratorium is only temporary and can last from three months to nine months. Council could then issue an extension. However, the ultimate plan is for council to pass the moratorium effective for six months, because it would be enacted immediately, and start working on a ban. The ban is thought to take longer to be made effective, as it has to go through other boards before it gets to council.

City Manager Brad Collins said he would have the information on both a moratorium and a ban available for council for the August meeting.

“The only concern I have is that we are another month away from doing this,” council member Joe Renner said. “I thought we should have done this a year ago. If I’m reading the code right, it takes a motion of council to start the process for the ban.

“I’d like to have a motion to start,” he added. “If we don’t adopt it in the end, that’s fine, but that’s going to be a several month process, regardless what we do with the moratorium. If we enact that next month, that’s fine.”

Law Director Jill Allen explained that a motion from council is not required at this point. The proposed legislation for the ban requires two components that will affect the Codified Ordinance, one in the Business Regulation section and the other in the Unified Development section (UDO,) and is done with a text amendment.

The text amendment which affects the UDO will have two public hearings and will go to Planning Board first, for a recommendation to council. Planning Board will hear this on Aug. 8.

“Once there’s a motion, we’ll have something prepared and see if there’s interest in that. Once there’s a motion from a board member, we’ll bring that forward,” Allen said. “There will be a change to our business districts, as far as business operations and medical marijuana. Once planning board passes that, it will come to council in August. Then it has two readings and will be effective three days later.

“Simultaneous to that, we also have the moratorium — council will vote for that as an emergency and that will be immediately effected,” she added.

Council plans to have the ban in effect on Oct. 18. At that point the moratorium will go away via the wording in the ban ordinance.

There will be more information available at the August council meeting and a first reading on the moratorium. The next City of Eaton council meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 21, at 6 p.m.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH