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Benton Harbor passes medical marijuana facility zoning ordinance

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - After months of back-and-forth, the Benton Harbor City Commission has passed the zoning ordinance amendments for medical marijuana facilities.

First, the commission approved the resolution to sell the former Alreco plant site to Harvest Group, which wants to use it as a medical marijuana growing facility.

Then, with a split vote, the commissioners passed the zoning ordinance--with mixed support.

“I supported this from the get-go to help anybody who needs medication. People’s hurting out there. It’s not just smoking marijuana. It’s lotions, it’s oils, so I’m all for this. I think we need to move forward on this. The time is now," said Commissioner-At-Large, Edward Isom.

“Every day we see the focus of this some kind of chronic illnesses, drugged up on all kinds of stuff they sell in drugstores…We have to try something, you know?” said Commissioner-At-Large, Ronald Singleton.

But, not everyone believes medical marijuana is the "something" they should be trying.

“We’re moving real fast with this weed smoking...What you’re going to start seeing is people are going to start selling it to other people, sell their licenses to other people, and your people are going to be without and the inner city’s going to still look like the inner city," said Mayor Pro-Tem, Duane Seats.

As outlined in the ordinance, medical marijuana facilities will be permitted in certain locations in Benton Harbor.

One notable caveat is that they can't be within 1,000 feet of a school, which one commissioner suggested they change to 500 feet.

The next step is accepting and reviewing petitions.

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