You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Saline prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries

By Staff

The Saline City Council has taken action to keep medical marijuana dispensaries out of the city.

Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell and City Manager Todd Campbell said city officials decided they wanted to follow federal law regarding marijuana, which prohibits its sale and possession.


City Council members unanimously approved an amendment to Saline's zoning ordinance that prohibits the sale or possession of marijuana or "anything that is a violation of federal, state or local laws," Campbell said.

The city's action was prompted by voters' approval of medicinal marijuana in 2008. Since then, communities have struggled with figuring out how to regulate its use.

Saline officials decided on an approach aimed at eliminating ambiguities.

"It's pretty complicated," Driskell said. "Sure it's legal by the state, but at the same time, it's not legal by the federal government."

Campbell said city officials considered three approaches: "Do nothing, regulate (the marijuana) or prohibit,” he said. “They decided to prohibit it.”

He said he only knew of one preliminary inquiry the city had received about setting up a medical marijuana establishment.

Other local communities are also wrestling with how to handle medical marijuana. A medical marijuana clinic is operating in Ann Arbor, but an official says the city will soon examine the legality of any dispensaries and the broader issue of zoning for medical marijuana dispensing and use within city limits.

Ypsilanti Township has approved its own zoning ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. Some communities, like Birmingham, have adopted Saline's approach and banned medical marijuana.

The legal status of medical marijuana businesses remains unclear in the state. A Lansing-area smoking club was recently raided by police.

Freelance reporter Alana West contributed to this article.



Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

Great going Saline, go ahead and let the Federal Govt take away the State's power to govern itself. The feds always threaten to take away funds if you don't mind them. Maybe the State should take away your funds because you won't follow them. You do live in this state YA KNOW!


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 8:47 p.m.

Let ADM, Monsanto and Walgreen's be the growers and suppliers? Are you kidding? Big business ruins everything. We want small mom and pop's in this business. People that care about their customers. Not mega company's that only want profits.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

Apparently, Saline does not believe in States Rights. Hurry, someone get them a copy of the constitution and have them read the 9th and 10th amendments. How can not obey the voters in your own state? Saline has always been a little fiefdom.


Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

I still don't see an explanation from anyone as to the benefit an ordinance of this type brings to society (with 54 comment I may have missed it). I found out last night my aunt has stage 4 cancer, so Kemo is no longer available for her. A new drug, for which I can not remember the name, exists. The problem for her, it is literally $100,000 per year. The maker does at time subsidize depending on income. She is waiting with severe pain and on vicodin, for news. Odds are probably good that at least one Saline resident falls into this category of cancer. So again, explain the rationale for this ordinance? Are people in Saline really that cruel and inhuman as to deny a dying person a modicum of relief? For reference from the American Cancer Society, Michigan has over 55,000 incidences of cancer or approx. 597.5 per 100,000 for men or 437.9 per 100,000 for women. My guess is considerably more than one Saline resident is included in this statistic, wouldn't you?

Candace Kinsler

Sat, Jun 19, 2010 : 4:50 a.m.

If something can alleviate the pain...c'mon...legalize it for heaven's sake


Fri, Jun 18, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

Medical Pot should be distributed via a pharmacy not a head shop. Also, big Ag companies like ADM should do the growing. The problem is the pot head crowd wants to run the show. Get the pot at CVS or Walgreen along with your other meds, one stop shopping.


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

@atticus: 1. You don't have to be a doctor to read research studies. 2. Detroit's measure is to "legalize" up to one ounce of MJ, which is decriminalizing it. That means its not a crime, you are not a criminal. Here you go: No I am not a lawyer either, but you don't have to be a lawyer to know the law.


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

Always enjoy your comments Atticus and David. I actually know of a real, legitimate medical marijuana dispensary RIGHT HERE IN YPSILANTI. I'm surprised that nobody else knew this.

David Briegel

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

Bethy, forget about sanity! If Pfizer had patents they would all be legal. Freemind42, hmmm, smashing down doors by the fully armed SWAT team has accurred right here in scenic Ann Arbor. Shame! An MS patient had a few plants in her basement and society was saved from the threat she posed! As represented here, there are too many backwards, diversity hatin', folks that any progress will be extremely slow. Atticus, intolerance abounds!


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

I for one (and I'm sure I am in the minority) am not a dealer nor a user (never even tried it) believe that we should legalize all recreational drugs (just like we do with alcohol and cigarettes) and tax the crap out of it. We could then put laws and structures around it's use (as they do in some European countries). People are still going to use and abuse whether it is legal or not, but at least we could spend less time policing the silly pot-heads that grow their own (or continuing the drug and gang wars in Detroit---no wars if it is legal!) and start earning funding off of it. I just don't understand why some drugs (Alcohol, morphine...etc) are OK with people and some are not?

Atticus F.

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

Thanks for sharing your oppinion mick52...How many years did you spend in medical school? And if you have no formal medical training, what makes you qualified to argue with a doctor? BTW, detroit has a vote in November to decriminalize marijuana (not legalize). In other words the detroit P.D. will stop spending tax dollars and resources jailing it's citizens for small amounts of pot.

David Cahill

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

To find out more about Ypsi Township, follow this link:,_Michigan


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

Good move by Saline. Medical MJ, what a joke. MJ has no significant medical properties. Only 23 states allow initiatives and referendums, Michigan being one and suffering from it. No initiative should be allowed if it either conflicts with existing law or causes a loss in govt revenue without making it up with some alternate fee or tax. Oh well, Detroit is thinking about making MaryJane legal so y'all can move there. Good move to repopulate Detroit eh?

mike from saline

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:06 p.m.

@ David Cahill. Hey Dave, thanks for straightning that out about Ypsi Township. It's comforting to know that there is another "forward thinking, progressive community" in Washtenaw County, besides Ann Arbor. Me and Ma are feel'in a little ashamed of ourselves for living in such a pre-modern, backword, hicksville, like Saline, and might consider re-locating. Frankly, Ann Arbor might be a little to expensive, with the tax burden, and all. So Dave, tell me about Ypsi Township. Do they have affordable housing? How are the schools? Crime rate? Diversity?


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

The smashing down of doors and arresting people was in Lansing not Saline

Atticus F.

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

I was told that law enforcement can be sued if they wrongly take or destroy medical marijuana from a patient...And that it is also a felony under state law for any unauthorized person to take medical cannabis from a licensed patient. I dont know if this would apply to local law enforcement or not. I have no problem if Saline wants to ban dispensaries by way of zoning...But what I do have a problem with, is Saline P.D. smashing down doors with guns drawn, and arresting cancer patients.

David Cahill

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 8:49 a.m.'s coverage of Ypsilanti Township in this article is outdated. On May 18, the Ypsi Township Board gave final approval to a dispensary ordinance. So dispensaries can now operate there. The vote was unanimous. The fact that dispensaries are legal in Ypsi Township is much more significant than Saline's purported ban because Ypsi Township is the largest local unit of government in the county, except for Ann Arbor City. Maybe could do a separate article about what happened in Ypsi Township.

mike from saline

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

It will be interesting to see how Dexter, Chelsea, Milan, and Manchester handle this issue. My guess is, the same way. Maybe should interview local officials from all over Washtenaw County, and see what there position is.


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 6:30 a.m.

"Saline City Planning Commission held a public hearing" which of course is not televised.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 4:14 a.m.

I wonder if this type of approach will lead to expensive lawsuits on the basis that a city must have some place where a legal activity can be conducted. That's how strip clubs get approved in many cities. Of course, someone has to have the money to file those suits, which means he really has to want to open this type of store. My guess is that no one commented at the public hearing because there was no publicity over the proposed law. If that's how Saline does business, that's a shame. A responsible leadership would actively solicit commentary representing both sides of the issue.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 3:53 a.m.

Saline should consider zoning changes to outlaw sales of alcohol and prescription opioids. Just to be consistent.

Pat Ivey

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 3:45 a.m.

In response to the comment that "residents should have had some say in this" the Saline City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at their meeting on May 26, 2010. No one in the audience spoke during this public hearing. The commission voted unanimously to recommend to City Council that they adopt the ordinance.


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:21 a.m.

The amount of censorship in these forums is absolutely ridiculous! And Ann Arbor is a liberal city, what is with the staff correcting people on their comments? Good God staffers, write articles and quit correcting people's comments and adding your own (on the sly) every other post!!!!


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.

Saline city officials need to lighten up and light up.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

Downtown Saline has a lot of empty stores. It's a shame to say no to the possibility of some commercial life.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 5:52 p.m.

Pebbles5- Its in the wording of the ordinance "Prohibits the sale or possession" If you grow,thats possession. If you are driving in Saline as a caregiver taking meds to a patient- Thats possession and maybe sale if money is involved.Zoning or city code rules apply to EVERYONE in that city or township, not just busisness.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

Hahaha...cinnabar, the dealers LOSE money! Why would a dealer advocate legalizing marijuana? The drug dealers profit from drugs being illegal. jcj - A doctor decides who "needs" it, just like any other medication. I find it disturbing that people are more worried about medicinal marijuana as a medication than Oxycontin and other opiates which are quickly leading people (especially teenagers) into heroin addiction and/or death. The difference is the heroin pills (oxy and the others) are sponsored by Big Pharmaceutical.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

Am I misreading something? The headline and the first line of the article refer to DISPENSARIES--not possession, nor growing your own marijuana for whatever reason. I think dispensaries (places of business) would fall properly in the zoning board's domain.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

"Or dealers" Why?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 3:40 p.m.

"I would suspect that of those advocating medical marijuana over 90% are recreational users." Or dealers


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

"I would suspect that of those advocating medical marijuana over 90% are recreational users." I am suspecting that number is really high (no pun intended).


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

I would suspect that of those advocating medical marijuana over 90% are recreational users. I have never used it ( I graduated in the late 60's)And I don't drink alcohol either. Having said that since I don't have any 1st hand knowledge I will pass on judging whether is is a good thing. However in cases of chronic pain I would tend to be OK with it. The issue for me is who decides who "needs it"?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

Are we simple at the later days of The Second Noble Experiment? A Constitutional Amendment was not effective with alcohol so an ordinance will surely be successful in saving saline from the demon weed. In addition, those literally dying of cancer or other severe pain ailments will be hindered in the search for releif beyond Big Pharmacia supplied narcotics, i.e., vocodin, darvocet, etc. Having watched my father fall into a vicodon/morphine haze in his last six months of life, please explain the why this type of ordinance benefits society?

Marvin Face

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

Cities and towns all across the country are scrambling to pass this type of ban. Colorado, Montana, California, wherever voters have said it is legal to sell. I believe that the view is that these dispencaries are equivilant to adult book stores and the like.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

Well, there goes any hope of the downtown A2 clinic's burnout clientel heading to Saline...thanks alot...not...


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Um profiling drivers?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

cinnabar, couldn't anyone growing any plant for consumption be using pesticides or something else that is bad for us? does the goverment have to have a regulation for every possible thing we do. i know the obamaites want this. but this is not progress people. if you need/want marihauna, just find it. avoid the government all together and be careful. don't speed or run stop signs when you have a joint on you. most of the drug convictions are because the moron was a moron, not because of the drugs they had on them. i mean, how did the cops find the drugs to begin with.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 12:45 p.m.

Yeah this is no surprise for a small country town.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 12:39 p.m.

As much as I hate the law, I'm pretty sure Saline can do this. Generally speaking, cities are able to make the law more restrictive, but not less restrictive than the state. Take dry counties for example. The state says it's ok to sell liquor but the counties have decided that they want to pass a law that forbids it. That is perfectly constitutional. However, whether it was a politically expedient decision is yet to be determined. The people of Saline might not take too kindly to their city government forcing ordinances on them like this (However, Saline is a fairly conservative town, I'm sure most people are fine with the law).


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

The voter-approved medical marijuana law is an amendment to the state constitution, isn't it? So I cannot imagine that Saline can override it, at least not when it comes to patients using or caregivers privately providing it - they'd lose that one in state court after wasting a lot of money on legal fees that could be better spent on other things. Zoning out dispensaries, however, might be within their power.

John of Saline

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

The hydroponic supply shop on Stone School Road south of Ellsworth: I assume that's mostly for marijuana growers? Or is indoor hobby vegetable gardening a LOT bigger than I thought?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:37 a.m.

@cinnabar7071: Well then with that logic, maybe you are against your local farmer as well. They "could" be using bad chemicals to grow your tomatoes...


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:32 a.m.

Can Saline pass an oridinance that is against state law? Is this even legal?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:32 a.m.

Thanks Cindy, I read this the same way. Ord.#727 "Prohibit uses for enterprises or purposes that are contrary "to Fed. State etc.. I really think the residents should have had some say on this. Once again we are being governed by a zoning board. Who are they to counter a vote passed by 60% of the state. Zoning boards used to serve a good purpose, now they are used to restrict all the freedoms we have. Maybe its time the voters start to restrict the powers of our local zoning boards.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

I've alway been against medical marijuana for the very fact that you have no idea what people are using in the growing process, such as banned pesticides. I could set up as a caregiver and use all kinds of bad chemicals in the growing process, your liver fails, oh well you had issues anyways. Very scary unless you are growing your own and know what was put on it or fed to the plants.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

Way to go, let's ignore compassion and medicine. While we are at it, let's ignore drinking and driving by elected officials. What about conflicts of interest, or was there a worry that Saline property values would go down if they allowed dispensaries?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

What a shame. The law passed in 2008 IS progress, and progress is being made all over the country. Burying your head in a hole in the ground is not going to make it go away.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

Nice job Gretchen. Perhaps we could not stop WalMart but we will stop pot shops.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

Can someone clarify what this story is saying? It reads like Saline is going to bust you even if you have a valid state permit. Does this include ALL caregivers in Saline? Does this include ALL patients in Saline?


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

Saline will however allow Regulated Jell-O Wrestling!


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

Saline was never a bastion of progress

Atticus F.

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:48 a.m.

What a suprise...More intolerance coming out of Saline.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 10:33 a.m.

Way to go Saline, moving in the opposite direction of progress.