Lansing City Council votes to bring “needle exchange” program to capital city

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Lansing City Council approved a measure that will bring a needle exchange program to the capital city and it goes into effect immediately.

This is something cities including Flint and Grand Rapids already have in place. It’s basically a community agency that allows users to have access to safe and clean needles, which would also help to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV.

For those who say this move will increase the number of drugs being used, data actually suggests it doesn’t at all. In fact, officials say having a program like this also offers things like resources for treatment and counseling.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said there’s a great need

“Our fire and EMS folks are pushing Narcan to rescue people on a regular basis, that tells you that there’s a lot of activity,” Vail said. “When you’re like almost daily having to push Narcan to rescue someone, if you’ve got that activity going on, you know you also have dirty needle use going on. When a city like Flint and their program can have like 5,000 a week that they’re exchanging I think there’s certainly a fairly large need when you start to put together all of those pieces.”

Take a look at the draft here.

Also during the council meeting Monday night, council members were expected to set a public hearing on the latest medical marijuana draft ordinance, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, it got tabled for the Committee of the Whole meeting, June 12.

Council members have been working on a draft for nearly a year and a half. This particular draft, known as “6D” puts restrictions on where a person can open up a shop, where they can put a growing center, and mandates that a business has a license.

Some of the language written in this draft has been met with some pushback, but council members say they’re just looking to create some balance.

“So what have we been charged with doing: achieving a balance and I think that’s what we’ve done with this ordinance is try to achieve some balance uh so that everybody is happy to somewhat extent,” Adam Hussain, 3rd Ward Councilmember said.

Tom Mayes is the owner and founder of Greenwave Dispensary in Lansing. He says he’s just looking for fairness

“I really in all honesty would like this industry to just be treated like every other industry, so very fair, a free market,” Mayes said. “We do want ordinances, we want the regulations, we want it to be safe for everyone, we want everyone to have to abide by the same standards, but we also want to be looked at another McDonalds or any Quality Dairy.”

If that draft ordinance gets moved out of Committee of the Whole in June, a public hearing could be set as soon as July.

Read the draft here.

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