Chelsea City Council takes first step to ban medical marijuana dispensaries
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."
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 AnnArbor.com and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.