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Posted on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 9:52 a.m.

Trial set for Ypsilanti Township couple charged with pumping marijuana odor into their neighborhood

By Tom Perkins

An Ypsilanti Township case against a couple charged with pumping intense medical marijuana fumes out of their house will go before a judge later this month.

Township attorneys allege that Michael Engle and Deborah Klochubar have been processing medical marijuana in their home at 1397 Crestwood Ave., and the fumes have impacted their neighbors’ quality of life.

Klochubar's next door neighbors have complained regularly about the odor, and she and Engle have denied an odor exists and blamed the smell on skunks.

Township Attorney Dennis McLain said he is asking Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Archie Brown to enter a preliminary injunction preventing Klochubar and Engle from doing whatever it is that is producing the odor.


Ypsilanti Township attorneys contend the owners of the home at 1397 Crestwood Ave. are processing medical marijuana and pumping fumes from the process out a pipe on he side of their home.

Tom Perkins | For

They are also asking the judge to order Engle and Klochubar to limit the number of plants they grow to what is allowed in residential zones under township zoning ordinance. The zoning says patients can only grow plants for themselves in residential zones and caregivers or grow operations must operate out of light residential zones.

The case was scheduled to go to trial today, and has been in the court system since December.

“We’re requesting that the court enter a preliminary injunction that prevents the residents from emanating an offensive odor,” McLain said.

Township officials have stressed that that issue doesn’t have to do with medical marijuana laws but zoning ordinances regulating what kind of odors can be emitted in the township.

The noxious fumes zoning ordinance states that the "creation of offensive odors shall be prohibited" in any zone.

McLain said the township has a long list of witnesses to testify that they have smelled the odor.

He added that the township also believes Klochubar and Engle have more marijuana plants in their house than the number a caregiver is allowed to grow under the MMMA.

According to state law, a person with a medical marijuana patient’s card can grow up to 12 plants for their personal use. Ypsilanti Township ordinance allows residents to grow their personal plants in residential zones.

“The bottom line is we’re asking judge to uphold our medical marijuana ordinance,” McLain said.

A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ruled in March that the MMMA does not pre-empt local zoning laws regulating the production and distribution of the drug.

Eric Misterovich, attorney for Engle and Klochubar, argued that state medical marijuana laws pre-empt local ordinances, and the township’s zoning ordinances regarding medical marijuana are not enforceable.

The state law does not say where medical marijuana can and cannot be grown. Misterovich asked Judge Brown to dismiss the case, but Brown disagreed with Misterovich's assessment.

Matt Abel, the couple's new attorney, was not available for comment.



Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

This reminds of something from a Cheech and Chong movie.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

The funny part of this story is that ann arbor and ypsi are full of skunks and possums. There really could be a major conclave of skunks in that area, coming through every evening. Wouldn't it be a hoot if the complainers had skunks living under their porch?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

"Someones gotta do their shirt laundry"- Thurgood Jenkins

Nikki Stefina

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

So a picture of their house and the address are included? Why? So they can be robbed?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Apparently the normal standard of just posting the block number is not being followed. The subsequent story will generate pageviews and advertising hits.

Honest Abe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:50 a.m.


Jimis Genetics

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

What if the smell of something my neighbor is cooking offends me...can they be charged too? How about if the smell from the exhaust on their car becomes "offensive". What if the smell of burnt pork offends me? Does that mean we can go around and arrest cops just because of that stink that permeates from their selves?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

I myself cannot stand the smell of bad strawmen.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

City seems to have a real crime problem judging by the number of killings, robbery's, thefts and more reported such places as this site. Seems to be a real shame so much resource is being spent on this case.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:55 a.m.

What CITY? This is Ypsilanti TOWNSHIP. I.E. A Township is not a city.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

I frequently smell skunks in my Ypsi Township neighborhood. At least, I THOUGHT it was skunks!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

I have two things to say about the article and the readers comments. #1 It is misleading to say the residents were "Pumping" marijuana odors. #2 Your readers know way too much about growing marijuana.

Dog Guy

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

It certainly sounds like those skunks are responsible for this stink.

you can't handle the truth

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

Sounds like some real skunky weed

Tom Perkins

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

The article has been updated to clarify that the township is asking the judge to limit the number of plants the defendants grow to what is allowed in residential zones under township zoning ordinance. The zoning says patients can only grow plants for themselves in residential zones and caregivers or grow operations must operate out of light residential zones. Previously the article stated that the township was asking the judge to limit the defendants to growing what is allowed under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

what is a light residential zone? i have heard of light industrial but never light residential. maybe a zone where residents are out of town a lot?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

"a local ordinance CANNOT supercede a STATE ordinance. " Billy, If you want to go that route, federal law supercedes state law. Marijuana production is illegal under federal law, so using your logic, this operation should be shut down. I don't think you want to get into a deep discussion about which laws control in this case.

Tom Perkins

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

@ Billy Engle and Klochubar's previous attorney already asked a judge to dismiss the case on those grounds. The judge ruled the Medical Marijuana Act does not pre-empt Ypsilanti Township's zoning ordinances.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

Was that Wyoming case the result of the GR area crusade to obstruct the MMMA by creating zones that were completely untenable and impractical? I seem to remember some kind of gerrymandering-level ordinances that would have made the actual logistics of otherwise legal MMMA activity impossible.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

I think someone already brought it up that a legal precedent was already set in this state(involving the CITY of Wyoming), in that a local ordinance CANNOT supercede a STATE ordinance. Therefore the city can't prevent someone from doing something that is legally permitted under state law. According to that other case, the part about limiting plants should be thrown out.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Doesn't publishing the address of these folks put a huge target on their house for criminals looking to steal drugs? Seems like a reckless move on the part of the press.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 10:28 p.m.

It sure does. Typically stories mention only the block and not the specific address. I wonder why that standard was ignored in this case?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

What a bunch of buzz kills.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

If only industrial polluters, pumping tons and tons of toxins into the air each day, were so heavily enforced.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

You are obviously unaware of the extensive regulations limiting what industry may emit and the extent to which such emissions must be abated.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

I would equate this to those that live in Florida and have to live with the horrible smell of orange blossoms in mass amounts, or maybe living my a farm that has put down manure and makes the entire area smell like poop.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

Try living next to a hog farm. Man, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

I love the aroma of good cannabis growing.

Eduard Copely

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

I wonder if they recorded an uptick in pizza (food) delivery in the neighborhood as well?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

There is a criminal trial that began in Judge Brown's courtroom this morning that is delaying the start of the trial for this case. An official in his court said the scheduling for this case will be worked out once they know what's happening in that criminal trial.

harry b

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

The neighbors should be paying them.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

free smells? oh, that's someone else...

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

The smell of bread baking gets tiresome and old real quick. Just like the smell of a burger king or mcdonalds would be horrible near your house.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

I would prefer this to the pesticide and fertizlizer order that invades my home every time my neighbors get their lawn treatment.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Stinkyfootdave? WHAT UP!!!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

Complain about it. Apparently, the Township has no problems focusing on and using precious resources over such issues.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.



Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

We could use a bit of marijuana odor/fumes/smell in my neighborhood. Might make the neighbors a bit more friendly. Story from my youth: a friend's older teenage brother sold marijuana and one day his mother found a huge bag of pot in his bedroom. This was back in the day in Detroit where most homes had incinerators in the basement. Well, the mom was horrified and thought she would teach her son a lesson, so she tossed the bag in the incinerator. The smell of pot stuck around that street for days!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Remember- the odor isn't even a real issue. There was a questionable complaint once, and no one, media who visited the site included, has smelled anything. There have been filters put in place many months ago. The MMM Act allows fir this activity and is supreme to local ordinances. The Court if Appeals in Ter Beek v Wyoming declared that local governments may not interfere with those participating in the MMM Program. This is a witch hunt by a few ignorant prime who happen to sit in positions of decision making power. Someone should tabulate the expense that the township and county have cost the tax payers over this non- issue.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

John- so no issues. You may or may not have smelled cannabis somewhere. There remains no issue with the actual defendants scenario. If I am being "defensive" it is due to the injustice, which stinks worse than cannabis or skunks ever could.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

"what issue, if any, did your perceived odor of cannabis cause" It caused me to winder if there hadn't been a skunk convention in the area recently. I was just driving through, though, so I'm sure the residents might feel a bit more perturbed.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

jamie, if your contention is that "the odor isn't even a real issue" but yet I can very distinctly smell something just passing through the neighborhood with the windows up, I think that's relevant. I'm not talking about catching a whiff of someone lighting up in their backyard, I'm talking about an intense smell in the air around the area over the course of weeks. I pointedly and distinctly conceded that that scent could be due to regular weeds during the humid summer months. Nevertheless, it IS there. Stop being so defensive.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

John- what that have to do with this case? And, what issue, if any, did your perceived odor of cannabis cause?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5 p.m.

I dunno. I've definitely caught a whiff of sticky-icky driving around that area many times. Not sure if it's just the humid summer air lighting up some local weeds, or this MM operation, but it's definitely there.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Either it's skunks or it ain't, but in the meantime you've got lots of government lawyers spinning their wheels who would otherwise use the time to evict widows and jail panhandling homeless veterans. What's the world coming to?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

It's too bad these people can't have some respect for their neighbors, and the rest of the medical community, and make a relatively small investment in some odor control. Then their neighbors will leave them alone, and the justice system can focus on real crime.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

I didn't downvote it (yet), but it might be because the odor controllers don't work well, and because odor is not the only issue in a residential neighborhood. The house becomes a target, endangering the occupants and possibly neighbors. If "processing" is going on there is also the possibility of explosion, as we have seen two or three times already. Doesn't it make sense to move it out of residential neighborhoods, like other businesses? Why not?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Why would anyone downvote this very sensible statement??


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Isn't it true that is you inhale secondary MJ smoke, use of MJ can turn up in a drug test? This could prevent a person from getting a job or get s/he fired. Side note: Ever wonder about those window fans you see year round in dormitory windows? They are pointed out, not in. Good reason for that.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

Jns first off its not THZ we are not talking about terahertz. Its THC and you are not going to test positive for second hand smoke. The house isn't emitting smoke, its the plant odor just from being grown.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

Yes, it is true you can THZ to turn up on a drug test. Colorado does have legalized THZ but yet you smoke it? Your place of work prohibits it? You are done. So go recreational but don't smoke and drive or what ever it is you are doing.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

"Isn't it true that is you inhale secondary MJ smoke, use of MJ can turn up in a drug test?" Nope...this has been proven time and time again to be false.....this is just an EXCUSE people use when they drop dirty.

Cameron McLain

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Virtually impossible to fail a drug test from second hand smoke.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

What happens if your neighbor is grilling and you dont approve of the the smell of that which is being grilled? Or soemone is having a fire and you dont like the smell of the burning wood? There are certain plants that are not cannabis and legal that have potent scents that could be smelled from some distance. Maybe I dont like the smell of fresh cut lawns, am I allowed to be offended? Surely you are allowed to be offended, but fortunately in our country it is not illegal to offend. If growing cannbis is legal, which to my knowledge these folks were growing legally, why is this even a discussion. Do these neighbors call animal control when a skunk spays its offensive (to some) smell?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

You have some valid points, as the smell of a grill or a fire-pit can be pretty intense too. However, if your "grilling" cause that odor to permeate your neighborhood 24/7 then I would think there would be a case.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

"He added that the township also believes Klochubar and Engle have more marijuana plants in their house than the number a caregiver is allowed to grow under the MMMA." What leads them to believe this? The strength of the odor? That's is NOT how marijuana works. Some strains are near odourless.....others....they stink even when sealed up in a glass jar... That intense smell could be caused by just a couple plants depending on the strain and even the phenotype. I've personally seen a single strain that developed both a stinky and a non-stinky phenotype. Plant genetics aren't much different than our genetics in that regard. This would be like the difference between blue eyes and brown eyes in humans for example.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Spot on Billy. Apparently nobody in Ann Arbor has ever been around "skunk weed". Surprising for such a liberal, hash bash hosting, hippie town.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

a2....that is not the point Billy was trying to make.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Billy, The science behind the smell does not matter, the growers need to resolve the situation. It's affecting the neighbors. People like engle make it difficult for those that just want to blow a jay on their balcony and listen to some Pink Floyd.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:29 p.m. No excuse bro...DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT....air filters are a CHEAP expense with growing. You're already dumping several hundred on nutes per crop if you're doing it right...shouldn't have a problem with a ONE TIME purchase of $150 or so... Be considerate of your neighbors. Also...kinda surprised they haven't attracted criminals to B&E them yet with all this publicity and their righteous indignation.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

This was done months ago and the original complaints are completely suspect. Don't buy the hype.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Carbon filters are neither cheap, nor a "one time expense". They don't even work when humidity rises over 55%. If I were a grower, I wouldn't even consider doing it in a residential area...why? Read above article, then read the last sentence of Billy's comment!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I think the last name of the female defendant is Klobuchar, not Klochubar. Might want to double check on that.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Wow, they might well be in their legal right to do so but its still not right. You only own so much land and should respect your neighbors. I don't want to smell their sticky tobacco smoke.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

"not noxious or dangerous, and pleasant to most." I would not go that far. In small amounts, maybe, but mj can quickly become an onerous scent, especially for people not used to smelling it. There's a reason people often equate a skunk's scent with it.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

There isn't an actual problem with odor. If there ever were a detectable odor, it was simply the plants- not noxious or dangerous, and pleasant to most. Filters have been in place for several months. This activity is a continuation of the unnecessary and costly (to the tax payers) persecution offs abiding citizens.

Basic Bob

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

they are not burning anything, so there is no smoke. the owners permitted the township inspector to enter the home and observed an air scrubber on the ventilation system. so the smells might not be coming from the home at all, but could be naturally occuring such as wild animals.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Man it bugs me that you all keep calling it "fumes". You should be using the word "odor" which is what it is. Fumes implies that there is some kind of unnatural chemical causing the smell. The plants are emitting an odor which is what you would smell if you stick your nose in roses or daisies. Plants do not emit fumes, that's what comes from car exhaust or bbq grilling.

Dog Guy

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Ypsidoodle, it's past the third Thursday in August and surstömming has been legal for ten days now. Smaklig måltid!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

So maybe I shouldn't vent the "aroma" when I'm making stuffed cabbage or opening up a tin of surstömming?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Fumes do not emanate from my bbq grill. It's an aroma.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Lets not get hung up on words. The fact is, you should not smell anything coming from your neighbors homes. Roses you do not smell. I'm pro on M.M. but also pro on not forcing others to come in contact with anything I do. I don't want to smell my neighbors tobacco smoke and I respect others from the smell the pot I might burn-use. Just cause it might be legal, doesn't mean its always safe-OK, see my comments on motorbikes.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Once they're burned or vaporized they become fumes!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Maybe the skunks are getting stoned then paranoid and spraying their scent all over?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Wait. The neighbors are complaining???


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

It is worse then you can imagine. And yes, the neighbors are complaining.