By Jessica Mathews/

Genoa Township is the latest local community working to deal with loopholes in state marijuana laws and people trying to capitalize.

The township earlier opted-out of laws related to recreational use for production, testing, transportation and dispensary facilities. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act includes a provision for caregivers to provide 12 plants for themselves as well as plants for up to five patients or a total of 72 plants.

During a special meeting Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a moratorium on the issuance of certain permits and/or approvals related to modifications to structures in any zoning district to cultivate marijuana as a patient caregiver.

Manager Mike Archinal reported that they’ve been hit a lot lately with people wanting to do caregiver grow-ops who see entrepreneurial opportunities and are looking to make money through loopholes, which can be very lucrative and the township is not currently prepared to deal with it. He noted the township becomes aware when people inquire with the building department about electrical service upgrades to handle equipment such as lights and AC units. In other instances, people are trying to acquire property for pole barns and it was noted that it seems the opportunity for nefarious activity is there.

DTE Energy was said to have concerns because the operations are showing up in areas where the electrical grids are not prepared to provide that kind of power, including in some residential areas. One option to be explored is only allowing permits in industrial areas.

Supervisor Bill Rogers told WHMI they’ve had a substantial influx and the moratorium is intended to allow the township time to do its due diligence and come up with a plan.

Rogers noted they’ve already held several meeting with the building and fire departments, and DTE. He stated the fire department has already been on a few calls where someone has messed up circumventing the rules and trying to up their amperage. Rogers said DTE has concerns about the operations knocking out electricity and resulting in brown-outs and black-outs in areas where they don’t have capacity to handle it. He said the parties will continue meeting to try and figure out what the issues are and how everything can be done safely and appropriately within the law.

The moratorium will be in effect for up to 120 days. The approved resolution can be viewed in the attachment.