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Posted on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

Chelsea City Council takes first step to ban medical marijuana dispensaries

By Lisa Allmendinger

With little discussion, the Chelsea City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the first reading of a text change to its zoning ordinance that would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

If the council approves the second reading on Dec. 14 — which it appears poised to do — the change will be implemented.

It won't impact any existing dispensaries because none have set up shop the city, and no pending applications are on file. But it will prohibit any from attempting to open in Chelsea.

“The intended purpose of this proposed amendment (is) to prohibit the establishment of any uses within the city which violate federal law, and this amendment by inference would prohibit medical marijuana dispensary clinics as the sale and distribution of marijuana violates federal law,” according to information presented to the council.

Council Member Rod Anderson asked what the process would be if the conflict between state and federal law was resolved.

After expressing his reservations about the state law, Anderson said, “We need to remember that two-thirds of the state’s voters approved this, and I think we need to keep an open mind and leave our options open as it was strongly approved by the constituency."

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The Chelsea City Council took the first step Tuesday toward banning medical marijuana clinics in the city.

On Sept. 28, the City Council placed a 60-day moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries while the Planning Commission deliberated on the issue. A public hearing on the text change and a work session on the topic also were conducted.

Jim Drolett, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, previously said the text amendment would apply to any use contrary to federal, state or local laws or ordinances.

Council Member Cheri Albertson said, “I don’t want the use of (the word) clinics used; these are not clinics, there’s no medical oversight."

The Chelsea City Council meets at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Washington Street Education Center, 500 Washington St.

Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter for and can be reached via e-mail at



Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

While the voters of this state did approve of this kind of use, no serious person can conclude that the dispensing of marijuana should be left unregulated. Local governments can and should take action when their communities will be affected by such laws.


Fri, Nov 26, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

While the voters of this state did approve of this kind of use, no serious person can conclude that the dispensing of marijuana should be left unregulated. Local governments can and should take action when their communities will be affected by such laws.


Fri, Nov 26, 2010 : 10:21 a.m.

If 'marijuana' had any positive medical effects, Sir W.B. O'Shaughnessy would have mentioned some of them in 1840. Oh, he did. And Marinol was invented why? And US Patent #6630507 is owned by whom? Does Chelsea still allow beer and wine sales? Any pharmacies dispensing oxycontin or fentanyl there? And all the junkies began with mothers' milk. Get real.


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

MICK, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of medical MJ, just as it is for being under the influence of "illegal" MJ, and alcohol, and prescription drugs, and sleeping pills. If your logic of gateway holds true, I would submit that this is true of alcohol...100% of hard drug users started with beer. If you use alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or any other mood enhancing chemical...stop being a hypocrite. Do a little research and discover why a relatively benign drug, and incredibly useful industrial raw material has such a bad reputation in the eyes of the public. Can you say racism and propaganda? I know you can. More harm comes from it's illegality than from the actual plant. That is a sad comment on our society. Chelsea's knee jerk reaction will do NOTHING to prevent MJ use in Chelsea, it will have zero effect on crime, except to increase it.


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 5:06 p.m.

Chelsea has every right to do this. There is nothing in the new law that says communities must allow it. Medical marijuana is a joke. If MJ had any positive medicinal qualities it would have been developed long ago. And in regard to it being a gateway drug of course it is. I suppose it is true that only 1% of pot smokers go on to harder drugs, but I suspect that 100% of heroin, cocaine, and meth addicts also do and started with MJ. This law is a great example of why direct voter initiatives should be ended, or seriously reformed. No state should be allowed to implement a law that is contrary to a federal law. It will be interesting to see what happens when a high driver causes a collision and hurts someone. The injured party should be able to sue the "dispensary" for providing the drug, like a bar serving a patron who gets in an accident.


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

leave it alone when have you ever heard of overdose on weed,never. i have on alcohol


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

I think the most amusing thing is that so many on "the right" are suddenly against the "free market", states rights and democracy! Anybody else not shocked?


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

many, many people, especially in red state America, are greatly fearful of marijuna as a substance, What other plants are they afraid of? e don't want the problems that dispensaries have caused in A2 just so some elitest snobs can relieve the glory daze of the 60's. What problems? Armed robbery? Then you would favor closing banks in Chelsea? The jewelry store already closed, so that should put you at ease. "Elitest snobs"? How nice. Nice use of a propaganda term. I remember when "elite" was good, elite strike force, elite school, elite athlete, now striving to succeed and better oneself is seen as a bad thing? Thanks right wing media for dumbing down America!. Here is a fact, Marijuana is NOT dangerous! The bad sides of MJ use come from it's being a crime to possess. Because it is a crime, those that want to use it must go to criminals, THAT is what leads to harder drugs, associating with people that sell other substances because the distribution system is the same for coke/heroin/meth and pot. The whole MJ crime thing is a JOKE, a very bad, expensive joke on the citizens of the USA. It is a complete waste of tax payer dollars to continue to track, arrest, charge and jail people that want to smoke dope. It has killed nobody, EVER!


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

The federal law is nothing to hide behind, Chelsea; it is a damned lie. To prohibit safe access to medicinal cannabis is unconscionable, as is the Schedule I status of earth's most beneficial plant species. Get over it. -Richard Paul Steeb, San Jose California [Ann Arbor native]


Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

Those of you who are against Medical Marijuana - do you think the law passed because the people of MI are stupid and unable to make informed decisions? If you don't agree with the vote, YOU'RE the one who should move. I don't have chronic pain or nausea or any of the other conditions that allow you to use this treatment. That doesn't mean I would deny it to others. Yes, we need to work on how to dispense it, just like legal opiates and other drugs, but that doesn't mean we are too stupid to figure out how to do this! I don't need to say any more that that has been well said by others.

Basic Bob

Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

Minor in possession is a crime, so selling alcohol should be banned. Taking someone else's prescription is a crime, so pharmacies should be banned. That will solve all the problems in Chelsea.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 9:15 p.m.

The law is a farce. The vast majority of "patients" are just stoners. I would support the law if it was restricted to people that really need it. There are sham "doctors" out there who'll write a script for virtually any reason. Stand outside of a dispensary for a few hours and just watch. If the will of the people is to legalize it for all, fine. Do it. I'm all for democracy. Enough of perpetuating this sham.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

It's just stupid NIMBYism on their part. Chelsea won't have it so cancer patients and others will have to drive over to AA to get it. Just snobbery, nothing more.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 6:09 p.m.

In Ypsilanti, our city council took the rare (for them) step of looking at how city residents voted on the Medical Marijuana issue. Ypsilanti voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposition, in the 80% range. Clearly the people of Ypsilanti want medical marijuana, and council has moved to regulate it, allowing them to follow the will of the people and have control over it. I wonder how the people of Chelsea voted on the issue? If residents voted in favor of the law, then you can hardly say that banning it is the will of the people. On a side note, it's kind of funny to see a local government shouting "Federal law says" when usually, you hear them shouting "State's Rights, too much federal power is wrong".

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 5:52 p.m.

RuralMom, They believe in the "head in the sand" philosophy. RCP, pill form? If Pfizer had a patent it would be legal tomorrow! shadowmanager, The people naively believed that their will would be implemented by their public servants. How silly of them! Davidian is absolutely correct! They just had a "smoke in protest" in Boise ID of all places. Out children will continue to be sacrificed on the alter of our very own obstinance and ignorance as we pretend we can keep them safe. It is that very obstinance, ignorance and failure to deal with reality that they observe and rebel against! Education of citizens and children would help. Just like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is readily avaiable to anybody who wants it. The sad part is that there are really patients who would benefit from medical marijuana. Who cares? We won't even provide insurance! We won't even provide caskets!!


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

Weed is not a gate way drug, do some research only 1% of people who smoke weed go onto harder drug. I love my weed and that's all I need.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 4:46 p.m.

OK I'll play along...So if it's so medical, ignoring the fact that the questionable medical benifit can be obtained in pill form, why not only allow legal distribution through Pharmacy.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 4:39 p.m.

RCP so you would rather have the grow operations underground? Do you really believe that Chelsea is above Ann Arbor with its issues. As a parent of Children that just graduated from Chelsea, you really have your head in the sand. You don't think we have the problems that Ann Arbor has? Well look at how MANY kids are pregnant, how many have DIED in the past few years due to under the influence driving, you seem really really out of touch with the actual citizens and children that reside in Chelsea. Medical Marijuana is a LEGAL PRESCRIPTION in the State of Michigan. Educate yourself before you spew. The Question is how will it be distributed.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

to Shadow Manager, ffej440, Ignatz-If you disagreee with the will of people of Chelsea as expressed by their city officals, Please do all of us residents of Chelsea a favor and stay in Ann Arbor. Contrary to what you and so many of the A2 elities think, Chelsea is not the western Suburb of Ann Arbor. Chelsea has several "dispensaries" for medicine in town-CVS, Chelsea Pharmacy, Polly's Market. We don't want the problems that dispensaries have caused in A2 just so some elitest snobs can relieve the glory daze of the 60's. No on has be able to prove to me why something sold as medicine can't be sold through pharmacy's. Oh yeh, it would require legit doc's scripts!


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Resistance is futile. This is a train that nobody can stop--because there really isn't any good reason to stop it.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

Chelsea is a backward reactionary community that still thinks it lives in the 1950's. I don't see why anyone is surprised or concerned with their city council banning something that the majority of their residents are probably against anyway. While I'm in favor of legalization.. it's foolish to think that medical marijuana is a popular or even good idea EVERYWHERE. This is a subtlety that I think the medical marijuana lobby just doesn't seem to understand: many, many people, especially in red state America, are greatly fearful of marijuna as a substance, and will put as many roadblocks to its quasi-legalization as possible to keep it out of their communities. If the medical marijuana lobby understood this, they'd be far more successful in assuring its legal use in areas that are in favor of it...rather than pushing too hard, too fast, and taking us all back to outright criminalization again (which I believe will happen...)


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

@ McGiver- Thats why dispensaries are needed.They only sell to card holders. Chelsea is just putting it on the street with NO regulation @ Tree Logger- I hope thats a joke Like other cities Chelsea is going to get sued, and I hope it costs them dearly.The courts have been VERY clear (Arizona Imagration Laws) that States and cities can NOT enforce a Federal law.The State law trumps the city so it's a no win. Get your checkbook ready Chelsea.

Tree Logger

Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

Marijuana is a gateway to hard drugs such as opiates. Hence pain is treated with opiates and not with marijuana. Run the medical marijuana nutjobs out of town.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

While the voters of this state did approve of this kind of use, no serious person can conclude that the dispensing of marijuana should be left unregulated. Local governments can and should take action when their communities will be affected by such laws.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 10:48 a.m.

It's sad that those who are elected to help the citizens are not able to find a way to help those best served by such businesses.

Duane Collicott

Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 10:20 a.m.

Is Ann Arbor City Council going to adopt a resolution about this?