Ypsilanti city council member calls for moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, grow facilities
Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson believes there are too many medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities within city limits and wants the city to consider establishing a moratorium to prevent more from opening.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"For a city our size to have six, I think that's ample," said Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, who is proposing the moratorium. "I hear a lot of complaints."
Richardson suggested the moratorium during the city council's Tuesday meeting, but the length of the possible moratorium was not made clear.
It has not yet been determined when Richardson will bring the moratorium before council.
The city currently has six medical marijuana dispensaries, with the possibility of a seventh opening on Huron Street.
However, City Planner Teresa Gillotti said the individuals interested in opening the location have yet to submit any paperwork to the city.
Wednesday, the city's planning commission will consider a special use permit for a medical marijuana grow facility on the city’s south side at 75 Catherine St.
The city already has one grow facility, the Green Vitality Remedies, on Mansfield Street. Another is hoping to open at 834 Railroad St. and is awaiting site plan approval.
Council member Ricky Jefferson said he's received complaints from residents as well throughout the city who are concerned about the number of facilities and dispensaries opening.
"It's not a good thing," Jefferson. "The residents I represent and some others are seeing them pop up everywhere and they're getting concerned over how many are in the city. We should find a way to cap their number."
Council member Brian Robb said he's never received any complaints on them and believes a cap was placed when the city decided that there must be 500 feet between each dispensary.
"Do we really want to say we can only have five of this?" Robb said. "I've never been in these places, but I don't hear any complaints."
Council member Pete Murdock said the city should consider waiting until the "dust settles" and recent state legislation is worked out to determine what the city's next step should be.
"I think they're on their own in terms of legality until legislation is done," he said.
State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, recently announced he's working with lawyers at the state's legislative services bureau to draft a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Michigan, and not just for medical uses.
The Supreme Court in February ruled marijuana dispensaries that handle patient-to-patient sales are not protected under state law. However, justices also said the appeals court was inaccurate when it determined state law prohibits direct sales of medical marijuana between patients and caregivers.
Across Washtenaw County, those rulings haven't stopped individuals from trying to open marijuana-related businesses. MediSwipe recently moved its headquarters from Florida to Birmingham, Mich., and is planning to open two offices in Ann Arbor before the end of March.
The first Ann Arbor location will be a doctor’s office with three physicians who will be able to write medical marijuana prescriptions.