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Posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

Ann Arbor mayor announces members of medical marijuana advisory board; dispensary fee set

By Ryan J. Stanton

The city of Ann Arbor took two more steps forward Monday night in its quest to regulate medical marijuana businesses.

Mayor John Hieftje announced the names of three residents expected to serve on a new five-member Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and provide policy direction to the Ann Arbor City Council over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the City Council voted unanimously to establish a new $600 fee that dispensary owners must pay to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license from the city.

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, noted the application fee represents the cost of city staff time to review license applications, but it's not the same as a licensing fee. She said a licensing fee has not been determined or discussed by council yet.


Ryan J. Stanton |

Being appointed to three-year terms on the advisory board, starting Sept. 6, are James Kenyon, Patricia O'Rorke and John McKenna Rosevear. Briere also will serve as a council representative on the board, which now just needs a local physician to be complete.

"I'm looking for people who are not associated with the marijuana business obviously," Hieftje stressed. "We need a physician and one who is not associated with the business and is not writing prescriptions for patients, and I asked the same question of the applicants for the other positions just to be sure that they weren't part of that business."

In his application to serve on the advisory board, Rosevear identified himself as the author of an article called "The Wild West" that appeared in the Ann Arbor Observer in November 2010. In that capacity, he said, he was able to enter most of the marijuana dispensaries in the city.

"In 1965, I wrote 'Pot: A Handbook of Marihuana,' went to the penitentiary in 1966, and the book was published in 1967," Rosevear also wrote in his application, acknowledging that today he's a state-registered medical marijuana patient.

Kenyon is a computer engineer who works as the information technology director at Optimization Group Inc. in Ann Arbor. He wrote in his application he's "generally interested in seeing medical marijuana work out — don't want to see 'bad actors' remove a useful tool."

He went on to state that he thinks medical marijuana is managing migraines "far better" than mainstream pharmaceuticals.

O'Rorke, an office manager and bookkeeper for Shoestring Enterprises Inc. in Ann Arbor, wrote in her application that she's just interested in doing something good for her community and, with a background of working with lawyers, she believes she can evaluate fairly.

Hieftje said he expects the advisory board will meet a couple of times early on to discuss its mission and then may only meet a couple of times a year after that.

He said the city's medical marijuana licensing ordinance kicks in at the end of this month, but he has no new details about the licensing process dispensaries will have to go through.

Under the licensing ordinance, an application for a dispensary license must be submitted to the city and reviewed by various city staff, including the clerk's office, police, planning and the attorney's office. To cover staff costs associated with reviewing applications, the planning department recommended the $600 application fee that was approved Monday night.

Wendy Rampson, the city's planning manager, said the fee will cover about nine hours of staff time across the four departments.

Local medical marijuana activist and attorney Dennis Hayes addressed the City Council at the start of Monday's meeting and expressed support for the application fee.

"I would encourage you to pass such a fee, simply because — as all things implemented that are new and different — you incur substantially more expenses in getting them organized and together," he said. "I think this is going to be well implemented, and intelligently so, and serve as a useful and productive example to the rest of the state."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Looks like we can put a lid on this, pun intended. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

There are plenty of legitimate medicinal uses for marijuana. Saying that claims of medicinal use is a lie is itself a lie. I can personally say that nothing else relieves the symptoms of dysmennorrhea better. It is true that as a substance, it has not undergone the rigorous testing required of drugs approved by the FDA but since no one can patent it, that is more a failure of our system for approving drugs than a sign that there is no medicinal benefit to this substance. There are lots of other herbs that have medicinal uses which also have not been tested for effectiveness using FDA standards. That doesn't mean there is no value to them. It just means that the value hasn't been proved. At any rate, I can certainly understand why someone might choose a different medication than marijuana based on the lack of testing but I can also understand why people might find it useful medicinally. I am sure there were many supporters of the medical marijuana law in Michigan who supported it in the hopes that it would be a stepping stone to legalizing the drug totally. I voted for the act for this reason. I don't think it is a secret that there are people who think this drug should be legalized for recreational use. Considering that this drug is more safe than many drugs we sell over the counter such as Tylenol, I can't see a single reason not to approve it for all uses. It should be controlled in the same way alcohol is controlled and taxed similarly too.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

You actually expect me to believe that pot should be legal therapy for menstrual cramps? I can't imagine anything sounding more like snake oil than the uses for which pot is sold as a cure for. It was the alchohol in snake oil that caused people to want to continue buying it, even though the snake oil itself had no real medicinal value. I expect that the high from THC provides the same effect.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

Would it matter if any of the appointees are spouses of someone on the DDA or city council? Or not so much? Just curious what you posters think.

Wilford John Presler IV

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

Dispensaries are acting under the legal premise of P2P transfers. Also if you actually read the rules thoroughly you will find that if you are obtaining an amount that is legal for your possession you are immune from prosecution whether the person you are obtaining your MMJ from is a legal provider or NOT .....


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

The whole premise of &quot;medical&quot; in the MMA is bogus. Time after time pro-MMA people have been appending what are supposed to be supporting links to their posts and in 100% of the cases, a simple reading shows their supposed proof of the medicinal value of cannnabis to be a complete stretch. The research provided has been with carefully controlled delivery in mice or in an uncontrolled and very small human sample. The MMA is a lie to the residents of Michigan. The law should be scrapped as a fraud and proponents should be required to sell its replacement, this time with the truth. The truth is they simply want pot legalized. I say that's all we need, ie. another reality escaping carcinogenic chemical widely available.


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

really? What study proves marijuana to be a carcinogen. none. You are the one with the bogus argument.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

Red, Sorry if my post was misleading in regards to all caregivers have to be associated with a dispensary. That's not the case or fact at all. A caregiver can be totally self sustaining it will just require said caregiver to grow his own supply for his up to 5 patients. Outside of that, if caregiver goes to anyone including a dispensary to purchase product for his patient. The act in itself is possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Now if that caregiver sends any one of his patients to a dispensary to purchase product and that caregiver is not affiliated with that dispensary and they sell to that patient. It is a felony possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Sorry. That's just the way it is until they change the act or define it better.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Red I can only reiterate what I have said from the beginning and that is the fact that dispensaries are illegal. Being a registered caregiver to tend to your 5 patients needs is only saying under the medical marihuana act you are now entitled to grow up to 60 plants for your patients and you can then distribute up to 2.5 oz of processed mj to your patients and you can possess up to 2.5 oz times the number of patients you have. It is ILLEGAL to go to the &quot;dispensary&quot; even as a caregiver to obtain product for your patients. So.......if I am your caregiver, then I am the only one that is to dispense mj to you, unless you want to grow your own. Then have at it, you don't need a caregiver. However, if you decide as a patient you don't possess the necessary green thumb to grow that particular plant then there is not an option b clause that says you can wander down to the local weed distribution center and get your &quot;stuff&quot; unless you obtain a registered caregiver at said facility. They then would have to contact the state, department of community health, and register you as their patient. Right back full circle to the my original point...they are illegal and not functional under the guidelines now. If you think I'm wrong, wander into Oakland county, Livingston county and any other county that does not possess an Ann Arbor.

Wilford John Presler IV

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Montcalm County,Grand Traverse County,Ottawa County,Ingham County and many others allow dispensaries... Saugatuck, Lansing ,Traverse City, Sydney etc are not Ann Arbor nor do their respective counties &quot;possess&quot; Ann Arbor.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

Sales Tax Now on all weed.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Red, I will try to explain this to you as quick as I can. First off, if you are a patient, you can grow 12 plants or possess 2.5 oz of processed marihuana. If you do not grow your own then you must go to a registered caregiver. A registered caregiver can have 5 patients who they can dispense marihuana to. So how can a dispensary be open to anyone without being a caregiver? All a dispensary is is a pyramid scam. Each person that goes into a dispensary MUST be registered with a caregiver to be able to legally obtain product from that said dispensary. Read the medical marihuana act. Read the attorney generals written opinion. Read the appellate courts recent decision. See then if you do not understand what im saying.


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

In light of today's ruling at the appellate court level, still care to say I'm wrong? Just saying.

Wilford John Presler IV

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

Attorney General Bill Schuette is soon going to find himself a defendant in court proceedings as well as trying to defend his egregious behavior to The Michigan Bar Association for abusing the powers of his office under color of law. His duty is to uphold the law and the constitution, not to make,interpret or change laws as he sees fit to fill his own personal agenda against the popular vote and against public opinion. In short our Attorney General is breaking the laws of the state and violating his oath of office. Bill Schuette is a criminal.

Red Barber

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

I'm listening. Explain to me, exactly, how it is that a registered primary caregiver is required to be affiliated with a dispensary? (A dispensary that doesn't exist in the MMMA's language). Here's the main premise of Nephilism's argument: All registered primary caregivers are to be affiliated with a dispensary. It's a patently false premise. Therefore, the argument is invalid. Sorry, there's no two ways about it. Additionally, the assertion that a registered qualifying patient is, by default, affiliated with a dispensary is nonsense. Help me make the leap from self-sufficient registered qualifying patient to being a part of the dispensary business model...


Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

Sorry, Red. It sounds to me like Nephilim knows exactly what he/she is talking about.

Red Barber

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

Nephilim, I've read 'em all. Just pause for a minute and think about what you're saying. You already correctly pointed out that there's no mention in the MMMA of dispensaries. Therefore, there is NO requirement therein for either a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient to be affiliated with a dispensary. You can't have it both ways. Moreover, you're missing the point. The newly appointed board member is a registered qualifying patient. Again, as you have pointed out, he could be entirely self-sufficient under the MMMA. (If so, how do you then claim that he's affiliated with a dispensary?) Or, he could have designated a registered primary caregiver. Now, since the MMMA makes no mention of dispensaries, there's NO requirement that a primary caregiver be affiliated with one. Citizen X could be a registered primary caregiver and have three (or one, or five, etc.) patients and provide for those patients directly. A dispensary in NOT required for a patient to obtain cannabis. Yes, if an individual (patient) chooses to obtain cannabis from a dispensary, THEN there is an association with a dispensary. Do you understand?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Dear Mr Mayor, You state you are looking for people not directly involved with this medical marijuana initiative. Is or is Ms. Sabra Briere not neck deep in everything pro-marijuana from the beginning of this voter approved and poorly implemented debacle? Everything you seem to do or say is a contradiction. Only in Ann Arbor would you last this long as mayor.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

So how does this work? The city is going to make you pay 600 to apply for registering an illegal business? Dispensaries are illegal! There is nothing in the medical marijuana act regulating them or allowing for them. So instead, the city is going to belly up and waste time, money and resources to say ok, you can have your illegal business in the city that probably will get you arrested by the State of Michigan or the Feds? Way to go Ms. Briere. Seems like you have wasted plenty more of the taxpayers money and created a false belief to most that dispensaries are legal. Make that the first agenda of your up and coming &quot;committee&quot;


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

A2Woman - He was referring to the remaining open seat, not the ones he filled. The point was to provide balance to the board. I'm no fan of his, but your criticism is misplaced.

Red Barber

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

Nephilim, Neither a registered qualifying patient or a registered primary caregiver necessarily have any association with a dispensary. Your statement makes no sense. Even if the newly appointed board member has designated a primary caregiver in lieu of being self-sufficient, that in no way equates to the designated primary caregiver being associated with a dispensary. It seems that what you're saying is that all registered primary caregivers are affiliated with dispensaries. Is that what you think? If so, you're mistaken.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Technically Red, they would have to be registered with a caregiver who is associated with said dispensary which by proxy,makes them part of that dispensary hence, not qualified under the terms of what the mayor proposed. Sorry.

Red Barber

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

A2Woman, Your criticism was my first reaction as well. Here's how I think the distinction is made, though: The 'business' under discussion here is relative to dispensaries. A registered qualifying patient need not necessarily be engaged in any manner, whatsoever, with a dispensary (in fact, the MMMA makes no mention of dispensaries). There is no contradiction involved if the registered qualifying patient appointed to the board is either self-sufficient or has designated a particular individual as his primary caregiver. If a registered qualifying patient does not obtain his or her cannabis from a dispensary, then I think it's difficult to claim that such a patient is a part of the dispensary business model. In short, it would be a fallacy to claim that all registered qualifying patients are a part of the dispensary business model.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

I did read the article, and that's not the way I see it: Mayor: &quot;We need a physician and one who is not associated with the business and is not writing prescriptions for patients, and I asked the same question of the applicants for the other positions just to be sure that they weren't part of that business.&quot; Note the part: &quot;I asked the same question of the applicants for the other positions&quot; In my humble opinion, I believe that a medical marijuana patient IS part of that business.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

&quot;I'm looking for people who are not associated with the marijuana business obviously,&quot; Hieftje stressed. As I read the entire article, it says that Rosevear acknowledges that today he's a state-registered medical marijuana patient, and an author of a &quot;pot&quot; handbook. Seems like a contradiction right there, Mayor Hieftje...Great way to start off!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

I want one of them permits, but $600? Can you take that in buds?