By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Depending on who’s talking, Michigan’s new medical marijuana laws could streamline marijuana operations into a lucrative source of local revenue, or allow for an unnecessary expansion of the medical marijuana industry in the state. Still another group says the laws overlook confusion about dispensaries’ legality, which has led to police raids and facilities going out of business. The new legislation — which was signed into law in December 2016 and takes effect in December 2017 — creates three classes of medical marijuana growers, allows dispensaries to apply for licenses according to the new three-tiered class system, creates a statewide tracking system for commercial marijuana and sets a state tax on dispensaries. One thing that will stay the same, much to the dismay of many medical marijuana providers, or “caregivers” – is a provision left over from the 2008 “Medical Marihuana Act” allowing communities to decide whether to allow medical marijuana facilities to operate in their area, and on what terms. That means cities and townships can still pass ordinances banning medical marijuana facilities in their area, even if facilities were already in existence. “The real power is in the local units of government,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.