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Posted on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Ensuring pot sold in Ann Arbor is Michigan-made shouldn't sell out suppliers, dispensary owner says

By Ryan J. Stanton


The city of Ann Arbor's proposed medical marijuana licensing ordinance would require dispensaries and cultivation facilities to not only keep records of all suppliers they receive marijuana from, but also make those lists available to the city upon request.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Buried six pages deep in the city of Ann Arbor's proposed medical marijuana licensing ordinance is a requirement that all weed dispensed in the city be Michigan-made.

It reads: "All marijuana in any form provided to patients at or by a dispensary or cultivation facility shall have been cultivated, manufactured, and packaged in the state of Michigan."

While the city may have legitimate reasons for wanting to prohibit interstate drug trafficking, or wanting to be able to trace all marijuana to its source point in Michigan, the issue has local medical marijuana advocate Chuck Ream concerned.

Ream addressed the City Council Tuesday night to say he still doesn't agree with a requirement that would force dispensaries and cultivation facilities to not only keep records of all suppliers they receive marijuana from, but also make those lists available to the city upon request.

"There's no good purpose to be served by keeping a permanent list of suppliers," said Ream, a partner in MedMAR Pharmaceuticals Inc., a dispensary at 1818 Packard St.

Ream said he understands the city's interest in making sure all medical marijuana is coming from within Michigan, and that there's an ability to quickly trace the source of any product in case it turns out to be tainted or caused harm to a patient.


Ann Arbor resident Chuck Ream says he smokes marijuana to help with a gastrointestinal problem he's had since 1968.

Lon Horwedel |

But there's a fear that supplier lists could end up in the hands of the federal government and implicate patients and caregivers in criminal activity since medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

"Dispensaries want to cooperate with these legitimate needs of the city, but also want very much to preserve the confidentiality of our patient and caregiver members as much as possible," Ream told council members. "We want to minimize the chance of our members' names being kept on a permanent or lasting list of suppliers."

Ream proposed an alternative solution Tuesday night.

"The city of Ann Arbor could require that all cannabis products in a dispensary must come from members of that dispensary, thus assuring that the products come from Michigan," he said, adding the city also could require every licensed dispensary to keep records to prove the source of any cannabis product — but use ID numbers rather than names.

Ream said it could be made part of an annual inspection process that dispensaries are required to prove the source of each cannabis product they carry.

"And a dispensary should be required to cooperate with any city investigation into tainted or dangerous products," he said. "And if necessary and required by the city, they should reveal the identity of any member who may be the source of these products."

Ream's comments came during the public input period at the start of Tuesday's meeting. City officials did not respond to his suggestions at the meeting.

Consideration of the proposed licensing ordinance was on the agenda Tuesday night, but council members decided to postpone voting on it for the fifth time in recent months. The reason cited was that four council members were absent.

Dennis Hayes, an Ann Arbor attorney who specializes in drug law, addressed the council to say he's encouraged by talks he's had with some council members.

"Every time I come back and talk with some of the council people, I find out that there's more and more that we have in common," Hayes said. "Particularly, I would like to commend all of you for your concern for the patients, which is in fact the purpose of the legislation."

Hayes said he's been in discussions with some council members about what information is required to be printed on medical marijuana package labels.

The way the ordinance is currently worded, all marijuana delivered to patients in Ann Arbor would be required to be packaged with a label stating:

  • The name of the person receiving the marijuana
  • The name of the business delivering the marijuana
  • That the package contains marijuana
  • The date of delivery, weight, type of marijuana and value
  • A health and safety warning

"We believe that we have a confidentiality solution, which will protect the names of the people, and we're working on that," Hayes said without revealing details.

Hayes raised concerns that the proposed ordinance would require the owner of a property to sign off on letting a tenant use the premises as a medical marijuana business.

"You have to do something to make sure that the property owners have the maximum available protection to them when they lease to these people," he said.

Ream said the city also should reconsider issuing licenses to cultivation facilities, which are generally assumed to be warehouse-style commercial grow operations.

"I don't see the benefit to patients of these cultivation facilities," he said. "They could get the whole program busted and dispensaries knocked out, and I don't know if we really need them."

That's the opposite of what Tony Keene, who runs a medical marijuana co-op on South Industrial Highway, said in an interview with last week. Keene, whose business could be considered a cultivation facility, said he thinks the city should disallow dispensaries because they're giving the medical marijuana industry a bad name.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

Taken from a comment in the NYT, this says it all for me: "Now, if only the citizens who applaud this sensible measure will themselves act sensibly and responsibly by not abusing the medical marijuana laws. In California, we have a very sane law, but in recent years have seen it result in an insane situation whereby every stoner on the streets has gone to a "pot doctor," told them they have scratchy feet (or fussy hair), and are now smoking their weight in legal reefer. I totally support legal medical marijuana for those who need it. By the same token, I oppose its abuse by people who don't (and who jepordize the system of legality for those who depend upon it)."


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

The same rules should apply as for anything similar like beer, wine, booze. We can buy those from anywhere, and of course many will want to buy locally. Also, you can make your own beer, and wine for yor own consumption. We need to make simple laws that are consistant and get rid of all the crap.


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

Beer is legal in every state. Medicinal marijuana is not. It is a federal offense to transport marijuana across state lines. Requiring the mmj to come from Michigan keeps patients and caregivers in full compliance with the state law... and protects them from federal prosecution (under Holder's position on state mmj laws).

Stan Hyne

Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 5:49 a.m.

The only thing dumber than the state allowing medical marijuana is watching the city council trying to place legal hurtles to the people growing or using it. They should stick to voting against Arizona laws.


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 3:23 a.m.

If you want to be taken seriously as a real medicinal product, you need to submit to the regulations that other medicinal manufacturers have to submit to. That includes quality control. It also includes liability if the product is tainted or impurely manufactured.


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

You're misunderstanding the intent of my post. I am lukewarm at best as to the medicinal value of the product in question. However, if it is a "medicine" it needs to be regulated. I never stated that would need to occur under the auspices of the FDA. With that said, drug manufacturers have to have basic quality control to protect not only themselves but also patients. That includes basic things like knowing where the product originated, how it was stored, transported, etc.


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

Please explain how a federally banned medicine should be placed under the same regulations as other medical drugs. The FDA is a federal entity.


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

"There's no good purpose to be served by keeping a permanent list of suppliers," said Ream How about the ability to track quality or health issues? If I got a bad drug from the pharmacy, there is a batch number. But if you get bad weed....tough?


Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

You're missing the point. The city of Ann Arbor DOES NOT keep records of every pharmacy's suppliers. Chuck is saying it should be the same for medical marijuana. Just like with pharmacies, Chuck suggest that the dispensary keep their own records with identities concealed by a coded system. That way if there was a health problem the city could request the supplier and the dispensaries would be compelled to turn over only the supplier responsible. Read more carefully next time.

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

50 years from now a economist will link a spike in "illness" to the passage of "medical" marijuana laws.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

At the root of your statement all you are really saying is that you think people like marijuana and want to use it for whatever reason (medical, recreational, spiritual, etc). That is obviously true. People like marijuana. The majority of the country wants it legal for any and all purposes. What I fail to understand is how your mind takes recreational users as proof that medical users and uses do not exist. That's not a logical way of thinking..


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

Well since 60% of med patients were already on permanent disability before ever getting a med card you are not likely to be correct. But even if you are, who cares? You know what they won't find a link between? Cannabis use and negative health outcomes. That is all that matters. What does it bother you if a person chooses to use marijuana instead of opiates? What does it matter if a person chooses to smoke a joint instead of popping some acetaminophen? How does it effect you? Why is your opinion relevant? Who are you to judge?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.



Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:44 p.m.

The made-in-Michigan concept is OK but hard to track. All expenses involved in the regulation/oversight of this ordinance should be paid for with a high surtax on the product. Marijuana is a drug and should be at least as "trackable" as Other prescription drugs.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

The really tough thing about growing marijuana indoors in Michigan is the difficulty in finding enough alligators to protect the plants At least there's enough foreclosures in crappy neighborhoods to convert to growhouses and more than enough pitbulls to go around.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

Pot parties were of the utmost class back in the 20's. But honestly what does class have to do with medicine? The alligator comment was pointless. The individual who owned it and was growing those plants died as a direct result of law enforcement raid tactics. He was in a very delicate state of health and criminal prosecution for his legal actions was just too much for him to take. Are you really that cold to make fun of a dead man you never even knew? It was a baby alligator... and it wasn't protecting anything. It was a pet.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

MedMJ: not Michigan's Classiest New Industry, that's for sure.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

Just get it from these guys: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> They seem to have plenty, plus they are growing for medicinal purposes, as evidenced by thier card.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

To those who seem to think that medical marijuana is a farce and that they know better than the doctors and scientists who studied 10+ years to get terminal medical/science degrees: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> There are 420 pages of links full of scientific studies that demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that marijuana is a medicine. If you continue to voice the rhetoric that cannabis is not medicine after perusing the links, at least you will know in your mind that you are lying to yourself and others.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

So much talking.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

So you have never heard of opiate pain relievers? They're considered the end-all-be-all for pain treatment. They produce far more of a &quot;high&quot; than marijuana ever could and yet they are prescribed like they're going out of style. So you don't consider those pain medications either.... right?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

I see I see. Sorry to say, but I still feel that &quot;medical&quot; marijuana is a scam. I feel that marijuana use for coping with pain is no different than vodka use for coping with pain. I can't get a serious feeling from a &quot;pharmacy&quot; that sells brownies and cookies baked with marijuana for medical reasons. It just seems like people in higher ranking roles are getting some smooth talk by some word savvy pot heads.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

Jason that isn't a study and according to the compiler of the studies there really are 420 pages if you print the links out. It's a meta-analysis of many other studies. It concludes, essentially, that if you're already going to be schizophrenic, cannabis may affect the age of onset. This conclusion is on shaky ground given the hodgepodge of data they slapped together from many different studies that utilized several different methodologies and controlled for different variables. The researchers acknowledge that their conclusions do not imply causality or even anything further than a mere association. This could suggest that schizophrenic cannabis users will onset earlier OR that early onset schizophrenics are more likely to turn to drugs for relief from their symptoms OR something else entirely. Given that we do not know what causes schizophrenia besides genetic predisposition, this meta-analysis tells us almost nothing besides to be careful if you're 18-22, have a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia and smoke cannabis. 1% of the world's population suffers from schizophrenia. A sliver of that percentage is made up of 18-22 year olds who could potentially be schizophrenic without having yet exhibited symptoms. An even smaller percentage of those individuals qualify for medical marijuana in Michigan and even fewer will actually apply and use the medication. It's a non-issue when you look at the numbers. There are some studies related to cannabis and psychosis in the long list of links that I posted. They are actually studies vs. meta-analysis' of studies. One of them points out the fact that there is no association between rates of cannabis use and rates of schizophrenia.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Thanks for the link Robert. I have been wondering where i could get a Che Guevara does Amsterdam hoodie.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

I assume you are joking about there being &quot;420&quot; pages. How convenient that the number of pages is equal to weed cultures number for &quot;weed day&quot;. Anyways, how about this study? <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;hits=10&amp;RESULTFORMAT=&amp;fulltext=matthew+large&amp;searchid=1&amp;FIRSTINDEX=0&amp;resourcetype=HWCIT</a>


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

&quot;All marijuana in any form provided to patients at or by a dispensary or cultivation facility shall have been cultivated, manufactured, and packaged in the state of Michigan.&quot; Good idea, otherwise China will probably take away all our jobs in the pot production industry also. Even more important, we know how their lax government oversight allows deadly toxins and poisons to end up in their products.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

Ad Hominem... the escape for those who have exhausted their abilities to logically support cogent arguments..


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

The level of the source is intended to match that of the target.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

I'll keep this very basic since it's clear that you have never taken a research science class and probably have never encountered a peer reviewed journal article before. This is called a primary source. This is the type of resource you turn to when you need accurate, scientifically supported information. It is a journal article published by The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The researchers that publish through the FASEB journal conduct experiments and generate data to test scientific hypotheses. The following article from this group is a report on a study they conducted that demonstrates the capability of the cannabinoids found in weed to inhibit cancerous tumor growth. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Next time you attempt to discredit 420 pages worth of studies like this one, you should find some legitimate information to support your argument.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

LOL! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Take a look at the index page. Is that what you consider a trustworthy source FredMax? This was clearly prepared by a high school student for a class presentation.... at best. Might have even been a tween middle schooler.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

Is that a joke FredMax? I doubt harvard even knows that page exists on their servers. Such an atrocity would never be accepted as quality work at such an institution. There aren't even sources for ANY of the outrages claims they make. Cannabis doesn't cause bronchial cell damage, or at least has never been demonstrated by competent researchers to do so. That's as far as I was willing to read... propaganda isn't worth my time. Science deals with observable facts... if they had science to back up any of those statements I'd love to see the studies. As far as I know they do not exist. I know that you do not want to acknowledge that cannabis is medicine and is relatively safe compared to over the counter, recreational and prescription drugs (caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, cough medicines, etc). That is your loss... but don't try to bring in propaganda to back your point. I've read every study on cannabis available at my research library... I'm not gullible and I won't be confused or misled. I know the facts. I've provided 420 pages of studies for you to take a look at. Some of them were authored by actual Harvard researchers... who knows who made that old school html web page that you cited... or how long its been there without being modified for current research.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Robert, &quot;thousands of studies conducted over the last 100 years failed to prove that pot does anything to permanently damage the human body&quot; Here some clearly written information on that topic that you probably never ran across, it's from a place called Harvard: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

FredMax, pot is not a poison and thousands of studies conducted over the last 100 years have failed to prove that pot does anything to permanently damage the human body. It's effects occur because you are born with cannabinoid receptors in your brain. That's right. Your brain has evolved (was created if you're one of those) to accept cannabinoids from external sources. It's like a lock and a key.. Cannabis receptors and cannabinoids fit perfectly together. One might even argue that the two were meant to be united. Let me state that again, cannabis works medically and creates a euphoric &quot;high&quot; because your brain has receptors that exclusively accept cannabinoids (thc, cbd, cbn, etc) that occur naturally in cannabis (pot, weed, marijuana).


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 6 p.m.

Thanks for your concern cinnabar, but understand that my post was entirely tongue in cheek, as it is well known that the &quot;effects&quot; of &quot;pot&quot; are essentially the reaction of your body to low level poisons that are destroying your body. I am a health concerned individual and do not use &quot;pot&quot;.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Fred you do know we have 0 oversight now. You'd be suprised whats being sprayed on marijuana now for pest control. You'll find out someday tho.

David Briegel

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Craig, I hear they have a great retirement plan!

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

I bet those Mexican drug cartels are going to have to lay off some employees.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Medical marijuana and mass grown mexican dirt are entirely different things. Even without this regulation, cartel grown pot would never be sold at dispensaries. It looks, smells and tastes like garbage and has little effect other than to cause headaches.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

The First Rule of Marijuana Club is...Don't Write down the name of the dealers and leave it laying around for the cops to find.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

Sorry ShadowMgr, my mistake, sometimes it is hard to discern the jokes from the reality on this thread! BTW, I like your cat icon.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

I'm not a dealer...I just a guy on the internet who makes fun of them pretending to be doctors.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

Too late. All your internet traffic is logged. It would be a trivial task for someone with the right access levels to find the origination of your IP traffic into, from this your street address comes easily, which will in all likelyhood reveal your identity.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

Welcome to the future. City Attorney Stephen Postema and City Council are the forebears of George Orwell's &quot;1984&quot;. Big Brother is alive and well in City Hall.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Pot wasn't legal in Oceania either.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Ensuring the product is made and sold in Michigan is an awesome idea, but the concept of &quot;medical&quot; marijuana is a joke and a huge waist of the states time and money.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9 p.m.



Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

The state didn't spend time or money with this law. It was written by patients for patient, paid for privately, and voted in by a landslide. City councils and law enforcement officials are the ones spending time and money to change the application of the law in their areas. Who's fault is that?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

I hope these new found fandango medicine men have a plan B for when the next John Ashcroft is put into office.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

I never once said anything about any of the qualities related to marijuana. I was talking about the individuals in the burgeoning industry.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It's not &quot;new found&quot;. Our laws prohibiting cannabis are the only new things about cannabis.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

It is nearly impossible to take the idea that marijuana can be used &quot;medically&quot; seriously when every person I have heard that can obtain it &quot;legally&quot; thinks it is &quot;great that the government permits me to get high all day every day&quot;. And when I ask them what ailment they have that allows them this right, they respond with laughter.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

No need to make up what is all around us Robert.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

Well for starters, the government shouldn't be allowing or disallowing me to put anything into my body. Second, I don't believe you. Your anecdotal remarks just so happen to conveniently back up your excuse for a cogent point. Third, the MDCH recently stated that 60% of cardholders are on permanent disability. That means the majority of cardholders do not fit the stereotype of the recreational cardholder with no real physical ailments that you probably just made up to post here.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

This is a waste of my tax payer dollars, and possibly the dumbest law ever that is result of a poor education because &quot;they'd rather get high&quot; Also how can 1818 Packard get away with being a Pharmaceutical Corporation? I highly doubt anyone there is any form of Doctor, plus im sure they arent regulated or licensed to hand out drugs in the legalized form that are monitored and tested by the FDA, like most real Pharmaceutical companies in this country. Please advise.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Pot isn't medical huh? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Apparently science does not agree with you.... at all.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

This regulation violates the Commerce Clause of the federal Constitution as it tries to regulate interstate commerce. It's unconstitutional Ann Arbor. You might want to have your legal counsel weigh in on this one. Only the federal government can regulate interstate commerce. You might want to elect some officials who actually know something about the Constitution next election cycle.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Interstate commerce happens between states. This has nothing to do with interstate commerce. By rule, it is purposely excluding the possibility of interstate commerce... one of the reasons being to avoid butting heads with the feds.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Well Jetson, The federal government does not recognize these laws. According to them, this stuff is still illegal. I can only hope, that we elect federal officials in the future, that will deal with this farse. After reading this article, marijuana is curing flatulence! LOL! What a joke.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Sometimes I wonder if Council has initiated its own quality control testing before proposing these measures. Perhaps a smaller administration that only had time to deal with pressing issues would be cheaper.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

You know, the two products you mention *could* be sourced in Michigan. The ordinance doesn't specify which company, just that the products come from Michigan. The US is a democracy first and a free-market economy second. If a majority of voters wants to help out our long-suffering state, there's no law against that. There's also nothing wrong with the moral value to help your neighbor trumping the amoral free market. &quot;Love thy neighbor&quot; vs. &quot;put thy neighbor in the gutter if the person two towns away can do it cheaper.&quot; I often wonder how the right can square their love of the free market and giveaways to the rich against their Christian values, when the Bible says to love thy neighbor, whatever you do to the least of these you do unto me, and a rich man can get into heaven as easily as a camel can pass through the eye of a needle. I try to use a 10% rule; I look for things locally first, then online. If I can get it locally for no more than 10% more than I can get it online (total price, including shipping and sales/use tax I'll end up paying with my taxes), I almost always get it locally. I'll be happy to vote for local sourcing requirements or politicians who want to use them.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

Now our pot has to be Michigan-made? Do we buy only Michigan salt for our roads? Should a Michigan-based bookstore only sell books printed in Michigan on paper milled in Michigan? What happened to buying from the best seller in a free market and letting poor competitors fail?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

I am not a lawyer, but if the pot were transported across state lines the DEA could become involved. The DEA is already attempting to get the names of state registered users in order to further their investigation of a &quot;criminal investigation&quot;. Permitting out-of-state suppliers would enable DEA intrusion into legal dispensaries putting patients at risk of Federal prosecution.