By Jessica Mathews /

Ordinance amendments to address home occupations for medical marijuana and recreational use are moving forward in Green Oak Township.

At a virtual meeting held Thursday night, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on text amendments to the home occupation section in the code of ordinances, which adds new provisions for medical marijuana home occupations and recreational use. They were described as general clarifications.

The ordinance lays out different regulations and requirements designed to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the township. It also aims to curtail problems that can be associated with insufficient or improper electrical supplies, problems with ventilation leading to mold, offensive odors, and other health hazards or general hazards related to the cultivation of marijuana in structure, specifically in residential settings.

The ordinance again confirms the township’s decision to not permit medical marijuana facilities. It does permit home occupations for registered qualifying medical marijuana patients and or the use of recreational marijuana by individuals age 21 and older. Home occupations are permitted in certain districts but not in residential multi-family or residential mobile home park districts.

Planner Paul Montagno noted this is an existing section of the ordinance and reminded the township has opted out of all of the major marijuana activities permitted through the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and recreational laws, which includes major grow operations, dispensaries, and processing and testing facilities. He told the Commission that the caregiver license is protected and not something the township can opt-out of but it can regulate through the home occupation ordinance.

Montagno noted they have provisions in the ordinance but some people have been trying to circumvent the intent of the rules. He commented that a caregiver license allows a caregiver to grow marijuana for themselves and a certain number of patients. He said people have been trying to do a co-op type of situation and are stretching the line between the single-family use or home occupation to something becoming more commercial in nature. Montagno added the intent of the revisions to the ordinance would be to regulate more particularly so that people “can’t wiggle around the rules”.

Montagno noted the language was crafted by township attorney and there were no public comments during the public hearing. The changes will be back before the Commission for further discussion and the body will eventually make a recommendation to the township board.

The ordinance can be viewed in the Planning Commission’s meeting packet. A link is provided.