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Thursday, July 1, 2010 • HERITAGE NEWSPAPERS/WESTERN REGION

Council gridlocked on marijuana issue Milan city officials debate moratorium By Steven Howard Heritage Newspapers

The Milan City Council couldn’t come to a conclusion during a special meeting Monday on how to deal with state-level legislation that legalizes medicinal marijuana for individuals with certain health issues. Much of the gray area up for discussion seemed to materialize by way of apparent contradictions between state and federal drug laws, and choosing which ones to enforce. Many aspects of the situation were hotly contested, with debate lasting beyond the special meeting and extending into the regularly scheduled City Council session. City attorney William Beach began by summarizing the implications of the bill and offering examples of how governing bodies in

“If we don’t like the law that was passed, then shame on us,” she said. “When this constitutional law was pending, that’s when we should have fought it. We just have to live with reality.” Mayor Kym Muckler conceded that she felt people with certain medical issues should be able to use marijuana if they so choose, but rejected the idea of having the controlled substance available in the city. “If sick people need the assistance of marijuana, they should be able to get marijuana,” she said. “I just don’t think I want dispensaries in Milan.” Councilman Michael Armitage took, perhaps, the most aggressive stance toward the legislation, enacting a motion to have Beach draft a legal measure that would prohibit certain medical-related marijuana activities in the city. “At minimum, we have to take some sort of action,” he said, prompting the board to act. “I just want something we can vote on.” Armitage withdrew the motion after discussing the

other Michigan cities have approached the issue. “Roseville created a special land-use permit for those growing marijuana plants,” he said. “Garden City said that if you want to grow marijuana, you have to go to City Hall and get a permit.” Beach also cited the Grand Rapids’ approach, which included moratoriums of 90 days that delayed decision making on the subject. “I want to show how different people approached it,” he said. Councilman Joe Chapin started the debate by saying he “would not have a problem regulating” the medicinal use and dispensing of marijuana. “I don’t think we can stop it from coming,” he said. “I think we should zone it. Quite frankly, I do think we should put something together soon.” Councilwoman Martha Churchill alluded to the oath she took when sworn into public office, saying she could not betray it by creating city-level laws that favored state policy over federal legislation or the other way around.

legal ramifications with Beach and the rest of the council, but later proposed another motion to create a moratorium of six months, which could prohibit the city from acting on the matter in any way for that amount of time. Churchill responded by questioning, “So, we’re going to violate the state Constitution for six months?” After a bit more discussion, Muckler announced Armitage’s motion was “dead on the floor” because it didn’t receive a secondary motion. Several other options were discussed, including the amendment of existing city laws to prohibit certain aforementioned activities, as well as taxing the sale and use of medicinal marijuana, but none garnered adequate support for a vote. By meeting’s end, the board left agreeing to consider the matter at a future council session. Steven Howard can be reached at 429-7380 or showard@heritage.com. Follow his blog at http://heritageweststaffblog.blogspot.com.

Local author pens spy thriller Ann Arbor resident Kevin Downs’ “Spydentity,” an espionage thriller with themes of bio-science and cloning, was released on Father’s Day in paperback. Downs said he chose Father’s Day for the release as a way to thank his father and stepfather not only for being there for him, while so many children are raised without a father, but also for providing him — through their life’s work — with the early inspiration to eventually write this book. Downs, born at Fort Rucker, Ala., was an army brat during the Vietnam War. His father, William Tiffin Downs, was a highly helicopter pilot in the U.S. Air Cavalry from 1966 to 1969 and received the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (V). “My dad is my idol,” Downs said in a news release. “I can’t seem to go anywhere without someone stopping me and saying, ‘You’re the son of the William Tiffin Downs? Make sure to give him our best. There was never anyone like him.’” Downs also speaks highly of his stepfather, who he said is a former U.S. Treasury Department agent, a former Secret Service agent under President Richard Nixon and a former Counter-terrorism Task Force agent. Downs said his stepfather, Daniel Kozlowski, would never retire. “He is one of those guys who can never retire because they will always need him for his mind. Among his other impressive feats, he has been a part of drug raids for the Drug Enforcement Agency and continues to be asked to consult for them, even today.” Downs’ father and stepfather have already received their signed copies of “Spydentity” for Father’s Day, Downs said. Nigil Bloom, author and book critic, said in a review of the book: “The dangerous fusion of information and life sciences in a new millennium sets the stage for greed, betrayal, revenge,

In the book, projected to be the first of a trilogy, protagonist Nathan Bishop is an ex-Navy SEAL and a modern day James Bond-like action hero.

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Kevin Downs the first of a trilogy, protagonist Nathan Bishop is an ex-Navy SEAL and a modern day James Bond-like action hero. A medical breakthrough cure for all cancers has been accidentally discovered by the U.S. via a cloning technique, but a malevolent Bulgarian scientist and former KGB agent is intent on stealing the secret. Bishop’s military leave comes to an abrupt end upon the news of the disappearance of his best friend and he is appointed head of an operation that aims to keep the secret from being stolen. Downs’ book is already available in hardcover. As of Father’s

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