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Posted on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

City of Ann Arbor seeks to close Ganja Mama's medical marijuana dispensary

By Lee Higgins


The outside of Ganja Mama's Treecity Health Collective at 1712 S. State St.

Angela J. Cesere |

The city of Ann Arbor is asking a judge to stop a medical marijuana dispensary from operating on South State Street, alleging the business is violating state law and local zoning ordinances.

In a complaint filed Friday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against Ganja Mama’s Treecity Health Collective, the city is requesting a court order to inspect the dispensary to ensure compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.


The lobby of Ganja Mama's Treecity Health Collective.

Angela J. Cesere |

An Aug. 23 ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals made it illegal to operate a medical marijuana dispensary, the complaint says. The complaint also says the business is in an "O" zoning district that doesn't allow for medical marijuana dispensaries. According to the complaint, the neighborhood surrounding the property consists of offices, condominiums, apartments and single-family and two-family homes.

The filing comes two-and-a-half months after the city wrote to a representative of the dispensary, Dori Edwards, asking that she stop operating the business because it doesn't comply with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Edwards is named as a defendant in the complaint, along with the dispensary's former president Benjamin Lamberti and property owner Francis Clark.

Edwards' attorney, Dennis Hayes, has maintained that the business is legal.

"Treecity Health Collective does not sell marijuana," he wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to the city. "Instead, it accepts donations. Therefore, its operation is legal."

Edwards said today that legal action by the city is premature. She said the dispensary previously informed the city that it intends to move to comply with zoning regulations and the city should give it time. The business requested that its property be rezoned, but that was denied last month by the Ann Arbor City Council. The dispensary was zoned out of business at its location when the council passed a medical marijuana ordinance earlier this year, regulating where dispensaries can be located.

Edwards said the dispensary has been at its location since Aug. 1, 2010, providing a comfortable, secure environment for hundreds of patients. She hasn't received complaints from residents or businesses in the area, she said.

That the city is taking legal action, she said, is "really unfair and unjust."

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Athena Aegis

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 5:10 a.m.

As a non-patient, non-user, just Mom and citizen type person, this kind of persecution and misuse of my tax dollars continually enrages me.There's now an effort underway to Repeal Marijuana Prohibition in Michigan. has info on how to do something about this crap.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

For those of you who oppose medical marijuana, no matter what the reason, I sincerely hope you never have to watch a loved one suffer through excruciating pain, and then disappear behind a cloud of prescription pharmaceuticals and never see their eyes look at you clearly again. I hope you never have to experience the helplessness that accompanies long term care that is controlled by a drug pushing, money driven, "health" system whose allegiance lies with Big Pharm and not with the patient. I hope you never have to witness the ravaging and demoralizing side-effects wrought by "modern" medicine. And I hope that if you do, medical marijuana is still safely accessible, because when faced with these horrors you will want every possible option available to you and your family. In this day and age it seems easy to judge what we do not understand, but difficult to show compassion for our fellow man.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

@mick52....the only person that has done little research is you! have u ever herd of a drug called marinol? my neighbor needed to get it as a anti nausea medication, to help with the side effects from chemo, but her insurance would not cover it! an she had good insurance, she was a 70 yr old women she passed last year (r.i.p). let me get to my point. they wanted to charge her 1,000$ for the prescription WOW! an people complain about a 300$ oz! an guess what that prescription was?? since u say no research has been done since its an illegal substance, i will tell you! Marinol is a form of marijuana that is antiemetic and is taken under prescription. The main ingredient that is used in marinol is Dronabinol, which is synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC. The medicine is available as soft gelatin capsules, comprising 10,5 or 2.5 mg Dronabinol. An extensive research is being carried out to test the drugs suitability as an inhaler or patch. The medical fraternity and the FDA have approved Marinol prescription. FDA is gettin rich off medical marijuana an has been for years now! 1,000$ for a prescription wow!?!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

I am late rechecking so you may never see this but I have done much research. And yes, I am aware that marinol is a prescription drug, known that for years. I also know that it is rarely prescribed because it is ineffective, there are far better drugs. That is probably why your neighbor's insurance won't pay for it. It's a waste of money and insurance companies are trying to control costs.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

Marijuana is a lot less harmful, to users as well as others, than alcohol use. Making marijuana legal would also be a boon to the snack food industry. I know plenty of people who have died because of alcohol, both directly and indirectly. I have never known anyone who died because of pot. Tell me again why alcohol is legal and marijuana is not. I haven't seen one *good* argument against marijuana consumption yet. All of the comments here that are anti-pot just sound like "I don't like it so no one should be able to do it." to me. That's not a valid reason to keep it illegal IMO.

lindsay erin

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

What a joke.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

So marijuana should be illegal and no one should be allowed to use it because it: 1. Is a mind altering substance. 2. Is harmful to your health. 3. (People) being subjected to the atrocious behavior of those that are high, illegally operating cars, and so on. How many people die or are hurt from stupidity-induced incidents caused by being high? 4. It's linked to risky behaviors. 5. It's addictive. All of these seem to apply to liquor consumption as well. Maybe we should also prohibit the use of alcohol. Oh, wait....... Actually, only 1, maybe 2 of the points above apply to the use of marijuana, but ALL apply to alcohol use.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

Heisman, you're missing something. People don't respect one another enough to not expose them to it. Gee, I can hardly wait until they legalize pot so I can smell it everywhere I go and see baked people stumbling around with their bag of doritos. Good step forward, society.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

What's sad is that people can't seem to live without either of those substances. I'll tell you what, though: I don't want to be exposed to high people any more than I do drunks. Good riddance to the potheads and drunks alike. Show some self control.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

"What happened to the doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals? Don't they provide comfortable secure environment to hundreds of patients? Doctors can give their patients scripts to control their pain and it is legal. No need to donate, just pay your health insurance. Goooo Ann Arbor, close it down!" RJA.. read my post, and you will read facts, so i dont completely repeat myself... those facts include over the counter drugs, like tylenol ect... over 100,00 people die each year from prescription drugs! i believe the number for last year was 160,000 people! this does not include the people that abuse them! thats the third place killer, the # 1 killer is cardiovascular disease, # 2 is cancer, # 3 is prescription drugs!! i say again, not one death has be recorded in the history of man kind from the use of marijuana! wake up people!!!!


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

Anyone who argues against illegal dispensaries are supporting the opinion that this law is a sham. If supporters of medical MJ were legit, they would vilify those that violate the supposed intent of the law. Those that violate the law should not receive support from any "legitimate" dispensaries. "Treecity Health Collective does not sell marijuana," he wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to the city. "Instead, it accepts donations. Therefore, its operation is legal." What a joke. I suppose the "donation" is required not voluntary. Can one go in there, get some dope and say "no thanks" to the requested donation? Determine how much to donate?

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

Considering you have "doctors" selling medical marijuana prescriptions, this whole thing is a joke. Oh yes, you can buy a $200 "prescription" and give a "donation" to get your "medical" marijuana. What a bloody joke this is.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths. It is a major cause of cancers of the lung, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, pharynx (throat), and esophagus, and is a contributing cause in the development of cancers of the bladder, pancreas, liver, uterine cervix, kidney, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias. About 87% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, and is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. It is very hard to detect when it is in the earliest, most treatable stage. Fortunately, lung cancer is largely a preventable disease. Groups that promote nonsmoking as part of their religion, such as Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, have much lower rates of lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers. But cancers account for only about half of the deaths related to smoking. Smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke, and contributes to the severity of pneumonia. Tobacco has a damaging affect on women's reproductive health and is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, early delivery (prematurity), stillbirth, infant death, and is a cause of low birth weight in infants. Furthermore, the smoke from cigarettes has a harmful health effect on those around the smoke. (Refer to the American Cancer Society documents "Secondhand Smoke" and "Women and Smoking.") Based on data collected from 1995 to 1999, the CDC estimated that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking. but yet again, zero from marijuana! u dont have to smoke marijuana to feel the effects!


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

You *do* realize that there are other ways to ingest marijuana besides smoking it, right?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

So 2 wrongs would make a right? You seem to undercut your own argument by bringing up deaths from smoking. Pot smoke is at least as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke, and more addictive. There is also peer reviewed, real conclusive research on humans that pot causes a host of mental problems labeled psychosis. The claimed benefits only come from uncontrolled human samples or from animals. Just because the cigarette lobby is more powerful than the pot lobby, doesn't mean that we'd be better off legalizing wide spread pot smoking.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

"Frankly I am tired of all these so call medical pot places are any of them run by a legitimate Pharmacist? I also have medical condition that requires prescriptions that I get fill at a normal pharmacy, Why can they?" lindsey.. did you know that over 100,000 people die each year from prescription drugs? an that does not include the people that abuse them..did u know that?? also did you know that their has not been one death recorded in the history of man kind due to the use of marijuana?...did you know that? so i ask you why would you be tired of a safer way to get your medical needs? the propaganda of the 50's is just plain ignorance! you know why they said marijuana kills brain cells? i'll tell you why, because back in the 50's, government scientist put gas mask on lab rats, put marijuana smoke in the mask, the rats didnt have enough oxygen, so the rats died from suffocation! did you know that? it cost taxpayers 72,000$ to house a non violent marijuana offender for one year! thats enough to send that same person to college for four years! did you know that? its time for education! why not legalize marijuana all together and tax it like alcohol & cigarettes? think about it, it would help our national debt! it would stop the flow of the mexican moldy brick ditch weed that comes into this country by the truck loads! because nobody would want that crap anymore, their would'nt be any demand for it! so then maybe the DEA, ICE, & border control ect, could focus on doing a real job like stop illegal immigration, stop the flow of cocain, herion & meth, the real killer drugs! people are dropping like flys from herion, meth and prescription drugs! so now back to alcohol, how many people a year die from alcoholism, and alcohol related car wrecks? In fact, in the United States alone, an approximated 79,000 people die from excessive alcohol use each year (not counting an additional 16-17,000 deaths from alcohol-related car "accidents")! marijua


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

@Mick52 1) I personally have done about 18 years of "research" with Marijuana...I am a CPA, have an MBA and consider myself very intelligent. There are no long-term effects. 2) Legalizing and taxing marijuana WOULD help with our debt. Importing pot would slow and nationals would grow/sell here. Importing is popular because it is difficult to grow in quantity here, and it is cheap to buy the Mexican dirt weed. 3) I think your attitude is making people sick, not the pot. Just let people do what they choose and mind your own business. I don't tell you to stop being gay do I?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

The reason the health risks of MJ is largely unknown is because very little research has been done on it because it is an illegal substance. Legalizing MJ would not help our debt. You are proposing that people who import it illegally will suddenly become law abiding citizens and pay taxes on their imports rather than continue what they do and avoid taxes until they are caught. Also why would anyone pay for it retail when it is so easy to grow? If it were legal and found to be as unhealthy (imagine that, inhaling any smoke being unhealthy) would it be a problem or not? Yes and thus it should not be legalized. With health care costs so high, I am in favor of another approach to rein in costs and that is to raise insurance premiums on people who practice unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, obesity, etc and smoking dope would be included in that as well. We are paying for bad behavior that makes people ill and I see no reason to add to the list of activities that will may people sick.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

What happened to the doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals? Don't they provide comfortable secure environment to hundreds of patients? Doctors can give their patients scripts to control their pain and it is legal. No need to donate, just pay your health insurance. Goooo Ann Arbor, close it down!

Simon Green

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

"Ganja Mama's" Sounds like a highly professional medical facility to me.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Legalize it, regulate it, tax it!

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Splitting hairs


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

Frankly I am tired of all these so call medical pot places are any of them run by a legitimate Pharmacist? I also have medical condition that requires prescriptions that I get fill at a normal pharmacy, Why can they?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Boy, I'm sure glad we legalized this stuff. Now, the newspaper is filled with stories about how laws are being broken and the energies of local governments and police are being monopolized by a bunch of unscrupulous "business" owners. Looks like this "business" opportunity fetched just the kind of people we want on main street: the kind who are used to hiding their profits, dealing with others underhandedly, and violating local ordinances. Ain't it great!


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I don't understand all the hate for medical marijuana, or any kind of marijuana, frankly. We live in a culture that encourages, glorifies and normalizes alcohol, which is much more harmful to your body than weed. We trust adults of a certain age to be able to drink responsibly and punish them (sometimes, anyway) when they fail to do that. Why can't marijuana be treated the same? Why is it socially acceptable to go out and get drunk on Friday night or at a football game, but not fine for cancer patients to smoke a harmless drug that eases their suffering, or even for a healthy adult to indulge responsibly? I have never myself done a single drug, marijuana included. But frankly these anti-marijuana laws are ridiculously puritanical.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

The reason is because some people are still of the belief that when one imbibes in cannabis, they are doing some sort of PERMANENT damage to their body and mind. They believe this because we have had almost 80 years of anti cannabis propaganda shoved down people's throat by our government and it's law enforcement agencies telling people how bad this plant is, so they don't know any better. People fear what they don't know or understand and even with the overwhelming evidence that cannabis is no worse than alcohol and possibly even good for you, it does little to sway their ingrained fear of a plant that they've been told was 'bad' for their entire lives. Add to that the vested interests in keeping cannabis illegal by the law enforcement, legal, and pharmaceutical industries and you see why we have our current prohibition. I think the youth of today are more and more accepting of cannabis as a normal thing to do, but as long as we have DARE and people like "Smart Logic" to spew their propaganda it is going to be an uphill battle.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

I love how people keep saying maijuana is harmless. It's linked to risky behaviors, impairs driving, and has a number of side effects similar to those of cigarettes, though admittedly without the nicotine issue. I'm not disagreeing with your argument about the social ramifications of drinking and smoking, but to call marijuana harmless is completely incorrect.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

"Ganja Mama" sounds like a fine place as any for one that needs to anesthetize his mind from reality.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

You know what? You're right it does fit in with places people like to go to "anesthetize [their] minds from reality". Places like Arbor Brewing Company, Grizzly Peak Brewing company, Woverine Brewing company, Brown Jug bar, Ashley's bar, Dominick's bar, 8 ball saloon, Arena Bar, Blue Leprechaun bar, Bar Louie, Scorekeepers bar, Banfield's bar, Good Time Charley's bar, Casey's Tavern, Fraser's Pub, Connor O'neills bar etc. Yeah I think "ganja mama" is as good a name as any in that mix, good point!

1st Down

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:28 a.m.

Wait a minute...didnt the people of the State of Michigan vote to legalize medical marijuana? So now the dictator governor is allowed to just repeal the law on his decision? So..the people have no say in the issue even though they voted for it?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

The "medical" pot legalization drive was a fraud. That is probably why so many people are angry about its implementation. It was supposed to allow medical use, when anyone can get their high if they can pay the fee. It was supposed to cut out criminals when the only people who can find a saleable supply of pot are criminals. The law was sold on a different basis than what its drafters intended. Pure fraud.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

Prohibition is loading the private prison business with profits and is also destroying Mexico. There is no longer any moral argument (if there ever was) for criminalization of drugs. It is the criminalization that creates the criminals. There is precious little evidence that marijuana use leads to behavioral criminality. Time to legalize and tax.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

Maybe the voters are waking up to what they did...........


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:16 a.m.

I love the name of these places, Ganja Mama's? -T-ree City -H-ealth -C-ollective? If only there were a simpler way we could have legalized marijuana where we don't need to abuse a system created for the seriously ill. But I guess this can of worms is open and it's not that terrible of a thing. This is the strange product of years of making marijuana illegal. But what's more American than bending the rules in the name of rights and freedom?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

I wondered if anyone else had caught that. Very clever, Ganja Mama.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Heh good catch on the THC thing


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

Go in and donate a dollar in pennies and see if you walk out with as much as "pinner".

David Cahill

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1 a.m., could you please provide a link to the complaint so that people can see the details of the City's claim?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

At the very least they could be punished for abusing the word health.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

@Lola, that stereotype won't fix the problems they've already caused and will continue to cause. It's sad so many people are addicted to weed and are just trying to justify their own vices.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Smart Logic, I think you are confusing people who are high on pot with people who are drunk from alcohol consumption. Stoned people don't usually have the urge to leave the couch and their bag of Doritos.

G. Orwell

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

@A2Cents "@G. Orwell, "Harmless" except to those being subjected to the atrocious behavior of those that are high, illegally operating cars, and so on. How many people die or are hurt from stupidity-induced incidents caused by being high? I see you've conveniently left that number out." I left it out because it is obvious. What is the difference between getting high on marijuana and getting drunk on alcohol? The only reason why marijuana is illegal is because certain people make more money when it is illegal. Know who makes it illegal and you will know who is making the money.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

@G. Orwell, "Harmless" except to those being subjected to the atrocious behavior of those that are high, illegally operating cars, and so on. How many people die or are hurt from stupidity-induced incidents caused by being high? I see you've conveniently left that number out.

G. Orwell

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

@A2Cents I think you meant to say Big Pharma since, according to Columbia University, about 250,000 people die each year from pharmaceuticals. Whereas medical marijuana is harmless.

G. Orwell

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

Looks like the AA city is carrying the water for the Obama Admin. Government can't have competition.