Michigan City Council Proposes Limits On Marijuana Dispensaries

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In one of Michigan's most permissive cities for the marijuana industry, business is not as usual any more.

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Ypsilanti has an ordinance on the books allowing both medical marijuana distribution centers and cannabis growing facilities. Currently the city has six distribution centers and one indoor garden, all of which are subject to inspections and licensing.

No mas, said the City Council at a recent meeting at the city offices on Michigan Avenue.

During a Council session in June, residents of the city's south side objected to the potential approval of a new facility near the I-94 exit ramp on Huron. Religious leaders encouraged Council members to enact an emergency moratorium on approvals for the marijuana businesses; that moratorium was written and proposed by city attorney John Barr. Testimony from activist John Evans, 3rd Coast Compassion Center co-founder Jamie Lowell and myself helped to give that measure a thumbs-down vote.

Now those same Councilpersons have created an ordinance to halt new approvals of either distribution or cultivation centers, citing a "saturation" of the city. During a July meeting the Council seemed poised to approve the new ordinance and it was well-received on first reading.

Citizens that testified in favor of limiting the marijuana centers referred to the distribution centers as "drug houses" allowing "a bunch of dope dealers" to operate inside the city.

Lowell countered with using logic and common sense. "This council action is the proper way to address problems, but in these circumstances there are no problems to address," Lowell said. "There is no proof that dispensaries in the community have caused issues. Why fix what ain't broke?" he was quoted in theHeritage Newspapers.

Several Council members supported Lowell's statements. Councilman Daniel Vogt told the meeting attendees that there is no connection between substance abuse and the number of medical marijuana facilities in the city.

"I don't see it as either helpful or particularly harmful to change (the ordinance) either way," Vogt was quoted onAnnarbor.com as saying. "I think it has no effect when you think about it in purely logical and objective terms ... all of this has been much ado about nothing, logically speaking."

Councilman Brian Robb told the Council that their methodology was flawed and the measure did not accomplish what the sponsoring Council members are trying to achieve.

"You're trying to prevent someone from moving into [539 S. Huron St.],"Robb was quoted in the Heritage article. "If we limit the number of facilities to six, it does not prevent someone from moving there in the future."

The ordinance passed on first reading. A second reading will be held on August 6th, 2013.

Source: The Compassion Chronicles

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