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Posted on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

Medical marijuana dispensary licenses will be first-come, first-served, Ypsilanti City Council decides

By Tom Perkins

The City of Ypsilanti will consider applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses on a first-come, first-served basis despite concerns from some council members that the process will result in applicants camping out at City Hall to be first in line.

The council approved the ordinance establishing the licensing process on a unanimous vote Tuesday night. How the city would handle receiving applications was the last major sticking point.

medical_marijuana_A2P2C2_Jan_2011.jpg One applicant, Adam Tasselmyer, who plans to open the Herbal Solutions medical marijuana dispensary at 124 West Michigan Ave., vowed to camp out in front of city hall, if necessary.

Council approved the ordinance as a resolution, which means existing dispensaries can start applying on Tuesday. That shortens the time new dispensaries will have to wait to submit a license application by 30 days.

The council had approved the ordinance on first reading Feb. 1.

The city’s one current dispensary, 3rd Coast Compassion Center, will have 30 days from Tuesday to submit an application uncontested. That’s followed by a 15-day appeal period in case the application is denied. Once that 15-day appeal period expires, new applicants can apply.The applicant must meet all the criteria established by the city to receive a license.

Submitting an application first is important because dispensaries aren’t allowed within 500 feet of one another. Only two dispensaries will be allowed downtown. Because 3rd Coast Compassion Center is already open at the corner of Hamilton and Pearl Streets, that leaves room for only one more facility.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti said people regularly inquire about the licenses, but downtown is the only area where there are currently two serious applicants competing for one available license.

Tasselmyer said he has already invested $40,000 in his store, and he has been working closely with city staff to ensure he’s complying with ordinances and guidelines.

“I’ve done everything right to set up my business here,” Tasselmyer said.

Gillotti previously said staff was checking with City Attorney John Barr to see if there was a legal way to give Tasselmyer preference, but staff has determined the first-come, first-served approach is best.

No rules or guidelines for how to deal with a line of applicants should one form, but Gillotti said city staff is exploring the issue.

Tasselmyer said he’s willing to have his dispensary's eight employees rotate in and out of line for 24 hour periods as soon as he gets the OK from Gillotti to begin waiting, which is expected to happen early next week.


City Council member Dan Vogt

In response to concerns about applicants camping out to be at the head of the line, Barr cautioned against weighing applications based on a standard other than first-come, first served. A different standard leaves some discretion to city staff, and that could lead to accusations of nepotism, he said.

“What the staff has done is say ‘We’ll use time as the issue — if you get here first, then you get the prize,’ and that’s a very clear standard,” Barr said.

Mayor Paul Schreiber, suggested awarding the license to whomever was better positioned to succeed, but Gillotti questioned how to make that determination. Council Member Mike Bodary said staff has been working on medical marijuana ordinance issues for three months and he didn’t see a better way to address the situation.

“Staff has beat their heads against the wall coming up with better criteria,” he said. “They haven’t yet, and I don’t see that in the next two weeks we’re going to suddenly come up with the magic criteria that’s a better process than the queuing process … I think it’s time to move this on and get on with the city’s business.”

Council Member Dan Vogt initially raised concerns that the competition for the first spot in line could possibly lead to violence. But he eventually voted for the ordinance without any changes.

“I’m not persuaded there is a criteria that would work any better,” he said. “Those of you who would want to be in line better get in line tonight, and be able to prove you have been in line continuously for the next 75 days — good luck!”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at 734-623-2530 or


David Briegel

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

If I wanted a liquor license, would I have to wait in line? If I wanted a city permit for anything, would I have to wait in line? If I wanted to run for office, would I have to wait in line? Is that really the best way to do anything?? Is this a 50 yd sprint?

David Briegel

Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

good post Leonard. Caffeine is much more addictive. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant!


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Medical Canna-business will grow and flourish, regardless of all the obstacles thrown it way. From the Holistic point of view Cannabis is markedly pro-evolutionary, as it increases appetite, induces rest, suppresses violent urges and enhances sexual experience. Cannabis is not physically addictive, as it lacks the documented "physical withdrawal" syndrome, necessary for a physical dependence determination. The so-called "gateway drug" theory has already been declared invalid, and the recent scientific study declared it "half-baked". Drug Marinol is NOT medical marijuana (and it would seem that any reasonable person would understand this), as the whole plant has over 70 active compounds, therapeutically interacting with one another in many intricate and complex ways. It is very important to stress again and again that Cannabis use, as opposed to alcohol use, suppresses violent urges and behaviors, and that any increased anti-Cannabis repression in this country will be accompanied by increase in drinking, hard drug use, and violence, including among young people. Now, to say that Cannabis plant does not have medicinal properties is the same as to say that the earth is flat, and this would simply not be considered a "rational" statement. Would then the fact that Shafer Commission recommended an immediate decriminalization of marijuana back in 1972, or the fact that Judge Francis Young called marijuana "one of the safest therapeutically-active substances known to man" really surprise anyone? I don't think so. To win this struggle, just like with all Civil Rights struggles, we will need to overcome the "consciousness of fear", and repeat the TRUTH about Cannabis again and again, until the necessary "qualitative shift" occurs in our common consciousness, and we will be amazed that the ridiculous Cannabis prohibition really lasted for as long as it did!


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

The determining factor should not be who has the best chance to succeed, but who has the best weed. I think council needs to have an old-fashioned smoke-off. I propose: The Demetrius Cup Challenge, a week long medical marijuana competition. Put it in between the Elvis festival and Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Fest and party on for weeks. (If you don't get the Demetrius reference, then you don't know Ypsi history) :) alleviate suffering.


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

It's Dan Voght, not Don Voght. You've got the caption to the picture wrong.