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Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Marijuana advocates call for firing of Ann Arbor city attorney during protest in front of city hall

By Ryan J. Stanton


Protestors gather outside of Ann Arbor's city hall Tuesday night in support of the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

Ryan J. Stanton |

More than a dozen medical marijuana advocates marched in front of Ann Arbor's city hall Tuesday night, decrying what they consider an attack on the rights of patients and caregivers.

"Let my people grow!" chanted Chuck Ream, a dispensary owner and one of the leading voices in the medical marijuana movement in Ann Arbor. "Caregivers help patients!"

As Ream made his way up and down Fifth Avenue shortly before the start of Tuesday's Ann Arbor City Council meeting, he carried a sign that read, "Darth Postema must go!"


Jamie Lowell, a Lapeer County resident and co-founder of the 3rd Coast Compassion Center in Ypsilanti, carried a sign outside reading, "No inspection. Read the law!"

Ryan J. Stanton |

That's the nickname he's given to City Attorney Stephen Postema, whom Ream thinks has inserted overreaching language into the city's proposed medical marijuana ordinances.

Later during the meeting, Postema received praise from council members for his work on crafting the medical marijuana regulations awaiting their approval.

The council was expected to give final approval of new licensing and zoning ordinances on Tuesday. But citing concerns that too many changes were being proposed late in the game, council members decided to postpone consideration until May 2.

"It's been a long process for the council," Postema said of the ordinances that city officials first began working on last summer and have put off adopting multiple times now.

"But if you look around the state, most cities are simply having moratoriums for a long period of time or not doing anything," Postema said. "So the council is looking hard at issues that are appropriate. We're trying to craft an ordinance and state law doesn't deal with a lot of things. It doesn't deal with dispensaries. There's nothing in state law about dispensaries."

Ream said it appears the city attorney's office is trying to require caregivers to apply to receive a license, pay an annual fee and agree to inspections to be able to grow up to 72 plants in their homes. He said that goes above and beyond regulations outlined in state law.

"I'm disappointed that the Ann Arbor City Council can't see through this for the plot that it is," Ream said. "We have been betrayed and it's really the city attorney, not the council, but the council is beginning to go along with the city attorney's ideas."

Ream said his coalition of cannabis supporters won't rest until the city's proposed ordinances are free of any language resembling inspections or record-keeping requirements.

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said the City Council has important decisions to ponder over the next couple of weeks, including those mentioned by Ream.

Ream worries the licensing and inspection rules will keep caregivers from growing marijuana to help patients because they'll be afraid of having their identities disclosed.


Council Member Sandi Smith and City Attorney Stephen Postema talk during a break in Tuesday's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"If you grow enough to try to help people, you're going to have to get a zoning compliance permit and inspections, fees," he said. "No one will do this, no one wants inspectors in their home."

During two public hearings, council members heard several opinions on the subject of medical marijuana. Council Member Carsten Hohnke, D-5th Ward, responded to a speaker who seemed to question the medical benefits of cannabis.

"Having spent the early part of my professional life in neuroscience research, I've enjoyed the opportunity to examine the literature," Hohnke said. "From my perspective, the medical benefits of marijuana for some pretty serious and painful diseases are exceptionally well established."

Jamie Lowell, a Lapeer County resident and co-founder of the 3rd Coast Compassion Center in Ypsilanti, carried a sign outside reading, "No inspection. Read the law!"

"We don't need any additional restrictions or prohibitions on what the law already allows people to do, and we think that allows people to participate in this act in their own homes without additional inspections and things like that," said Lowell.

Harry Cayce, co-owner of the Peoples Choice Alternative Medicine compassion club across from the Big House, carried a sign that read, "Go blue! Grow green!" He believes his business, 2,500 members strong, was the second marijuana clinic to open in Ann Arbor.

"We're out here just to try to protect the patients' rights to grow their own medicine," he said. "To put more controls on anybody who wants medicine, over and above what the state does, I think is wrong. To be inspected just because you're growing medicine doesn't make sense."

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.



Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.

Next time your sick make an appointment with the city attorney or your legislature.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

I think once a year folks who want to smoke dope should go to the Hash-Bash at U of M and light up and then go home and be quiet for the remainder of the year (364 days). Ann Arbor simply inviting more trouble by considering pot legislation and legal pot stores in downtown. Enough!


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 3:38 a.m.

Sounds like Ream has been using all those reams of paper not for writing but for rolling doobies. He is talking crazy.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

Ream just needs to get "Reamed". He simply has no sense...probably due to all the doobies hes been smoking.

Lamont Cranston

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

Wow these 11 people were in the wrong location. They thought it was the place that they could score.

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

American business makes billions in profit from the drug fueled daily existence of vast numbers in our society. We wake up and stay awake with caffeine. The nicotine addicts pollute and trash the environment and themselves. The alcoholics trash themselves and society. The legal Drug Pushers and Dealers in the pharmaceutical business bring you legal addicts like the Limbaugh's of the world and bribe our very own government "of the people" for no bid contracts while touting the "free market" solutions. And then society sits in judgement of a simple herb. I say let the free market be free. Free The Weed!


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

Medical cannabis has improved the quality of and has saved lives since it was over-whelmingly approved by the voters in Michigan and Ann Arbor. There have been no real problems with the properly run dispensing collectives in the Ann Arbor area. Patients have been helped with their, normal decent, alternative health care choices, and vacant buildings have been occupied, and jobs created. Chuck Ream is a hero and a crusader for human rights. Several cities have tried, in earnest, to create a workable ordinance, and have been compromised with incorrect information, organized opposing forces, and ignorance. Ann Arbor has a real opportunity to get this right and be a positive model for the rest of the state.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

well one provider was robbed, but we have also seen robberies at the local jewelry stores lately also

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

We keep having this silly debate at every evolutionary step of the way. We should have known that "the autorities" just don't want to deal with this and simply can't be trusted to honestly implement and enforce the "will of the people". They are beyond hope in these matters. There is really only one answer. Legalize Marijuana. The rest is just silliness preserving the Drug Enforcement Industrial Complex and the Prison Industrial Complex. Neither of which have been effective or benefitted society in ANY manner! And their is no money for education? Legalize Now!


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Before resorting to illegal drugs, those that need medical relief should be trying pharmaceutical alternatives. The medical marijuana movement is the outgrowth of potheads wanting to legitimize their use of the drug for recreational purposes. Good for the city to slow this movement down. Those that need medical relief should be looking at alternatives that can help without other threatening side affects.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Cannabis IS the choice of an alternative. Look closely, mainstream medical world does NOT want alternative medicine in any form-alternative medicine clinics usually are not covered by 'insurance' neither is chiropractic care-both a bit more natural and healthier than the ills of pills. Coast to Coast AM last night had a program about the problem going on right now with pain pill abuse and addiction, brought to you by:-your beloved doctors, the health world, insurance, What a Crock, it's more dangerous than Cannabis. And you know what, what is it to you if i choose to feel good by using Cannabis? What harm do i bring you? Is your way the only way? what is your way? Worried about the children, remove the TV from their life, that will save their tender minds from the filth and lies oozing out of the 'idiot box'. legalizing Cannabis will benefit the children actually, because most teenagers have for decades tried cannabis, and if caught it ruins their life, not the plant it self but the unjust rules and damnation over it. Cannabis is only illegal because of greed-and it does promote one to think for themselves, something the 'controllers' dont want you to do!! And if you think some organization like the FDA should be involved you oughta check them out to, they are bought and sold like the politicians. Food and Drug - bad food, try drugs,money money profit. There are more extremely worse things than cultivating a plant and extracting the medicine-open thine eyes


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

because there are no threatening side effects from synthetic drugs like dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, etc, etc. and that you must buy from a pharmacy supporting the multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. instead of using a locally grown product . . .

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Keep Marijuana illegal. This is clearly NOT working.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

Just wondering, how is it clearly not working????


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:18 p.m.

I support the right of medical marijuana, so don't misconstrue my following question. What if patient(s) becomes ill by consuming a bad dose of marijuana, how is it backtracked to who sold it, who grew it, and who consumed a product that might need to be recalled. Isn't record keeping in the best interest of public saftey? When prescription drugs are sold at the pharmacy all three of these can be traced incase a recall of the product is needed.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

EyeheartA2 - good point.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Your assumption is that the medical marijuana was for medicianal purposes. Then none of this, including the protests make sense. If it is for recreational use, is seems to make more sense, doesn't it?


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

"Ream said his coalition of cannabis supporters won't rest until the city's proposed ordinances are free of any language resembling inspections or record-keeping requirements." We just wanna be free. Free to smoke our weed and not be hasseled by the man.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Yep, let me use my drug to get high. That's all I want. This is just what society doesnt' need.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:15 a.m. forgot the "MEDICAL" at the beginning of your attention attracting headline.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:08 a.m.

Anyone who can't see the positive change and professionalism that Stephen Postema has brought to the Ann Arbor City Attorney's Office has just been smoking too much.......Oh, never mind.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 10:54 a.m.

The headline is a bit misleading. Medical marijuana advocacy is alot more legit than that for simple stoner 'potheadism".