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Posted on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

Ypsilanti city council member calls for moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, grow facilities

By Katrease Stafford

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.


Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, pictured here on March 19, wants the city to consider a moratorium limiting the number of medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities.

Courtney Sacco |

"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.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Educated on history is everything ... Informed of present gives you the power of knowledge ... May God blesses Ypsilanti to become the Cannabis Capitol...

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4 p.m.

I am a voter in the city if Ypsilanti and I have no problem with the dispensaries or grow operations. Ypsilanti could become the center of a new industry. Let's not dismiss the opportunities here.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Every dispensary in the city that I've walked by seemed well-maintained and professionally run. I propose a moratorium on vacant storefronts. Or maybe a moratorium on non-taxpaying churches?

Michigan Man

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Really smart Mayor Pro Tem in Ypsi. Nothing terribly good comes from smoking dope. Most everyone knows unless you went to school high on dope and didn't learn anything there is nothing positive at all in smoking weed. Of course, the medical marijuana crowd will go goofy over my comments - but those who smoke dope to get high, cop a buzz and want to be cool will totally agree with my comments.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:58 p.m. "mind sharp as a bowling/beach ball" today?


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Our city is overrun by serious crime and blight, our police and fire department staffing levels have been decimated, our city finances are in shambles, etc., and our elected officials are concerned with medical marijuana dispensaries? Once again, one need not wonder why our city is on the fast-track to complete failure.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

I'm glad she's basing her limit of six facilities on research and science instead of a what she "thinks"...oh, wait.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

I'm all for a moratorium, Ypsi doesn't need to become the county "go to" location for buying weed. Quite frankly, if pot's going to be legalized, then legalize it, but these "medical dispensaries" and the law passed allowing them are a lie. Medical drug studies have shown that, while pot does have medicinal uses, in every instance people have claimed benefit from pot other existing drugs work as well or better. Pot is not the only treatment available. The whole justification for legalizing it was a lie to make a loophole for people to buy marijuana, and that's what many voters in Michigan who voted in favor of it have come to realize. Now out of state doctors come in and set up monthly clinics in Southfield to give out marijuana cards for a fee, and these dispensaries are selling to people who may have a marijuana prescription, but don't need it, they're doing it for fun. This whole system is a lie, and I can't stand that. If you want to legalize it, then get it really legalized, but don't pass this scam of a system and then smugly pat yourselves on the back that you fooled everyone in Michigan. So yes, I'm for a moratorium, we can require liquor licenses which are limited in number, so we can require licenses for these businesses, too.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

So you want to ban every drug that isn't the "only treatment available" for a condition? 90% of the inventory at CVS would disappear. How about we let the doctors and patients decide what treatment they want to use? They are adults after all. And I see no reason that they should be forced to use more expensive treatments manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies when they'd rather grow their own.

Steve McKeen

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

These businesses do need licenses, and from what I understand, the city charges nearly $5,000 for a license.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Good for her!


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Yeah...successful businesses...who needs 'em! NIMBY!

Tom Joad

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

These dispensaries are violating state law by being open and the city of Ypsilanti has no legal basis to offer licenses to dispensaries or grow operations under the same statute. These shameless profiteers and growers have carved a place out of the noble intent of the medical marijuana law to enrich both themselves and the city coffers. The city has involved itself in an illegal conspiracy. The intent of the law was not for growers or caregivers to profit from selling marijuana to 'patients' at $400 an oz. Allowing each patient to have 12 plants contributes to illegal sales because the yields on that many plants far exceeds the allowed 2.5 oz of marijuana any one patient can have on hand at one time. How much weed does one patient require? I doubt the voter would approve such a measure today if they knew the true motives of most caregivers to profit from medical marijuana.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

With 2 states in full legalization mode and if Obama and company don't put the brakes to open sales (pot tourism). I see many other states moving to legalization. When prohibition ended in the 1930's, who back then would had dreamed they be selling booze at the local gas stations ? Now booze sales are out of control, 7 am till 2 am you can buy booze. I seen no dispensaries with those hours.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

If you think the price is too high, you should want MORE growers and dispensaries. Higher supply = lower prices. Also, since the majority of voters support outright marijuana legalization, I doubt if they would change their mind about medical just because some people are using it recreationally.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

As a Ypsilanti taxpayer, I believe we need a moratorium on Lois Richardson's political career.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Were you able to vote for Steve Pierce? It was sad to see him lose.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

I have never seen politicians run from money so much before in my life. This is a cash business that needs to be embraced and used to make money for the states and the country as a whole. Way too much money is wasted in preventative measures that do not work anyway. I am pretty sure the citizens of the city voted for this change so it is time to stop all of the complaining. What is so offensive to see a store front that mentions marijuana? I see liquor stores every 10 feet, hell there is a liquor store across the street from a DAYCARE on hewitt rd. I bet rent is never late on the properties that are selling medical either.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Paul, It is liquor, not porn DVDs.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

They sell liquor and beer at my local gas stations. Its not even hidden out of sight, go in to pay for the fuel and you can't help to see the whole wall fill with hard liquor. If that isn't enough, they have little oz bottles on the counter.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Grow it, tax it, regulate it, and sell it. All the hooplah over a plant that grows naturally in the earth. It's one million times safer than alcohol and no more dangerous than nicotine. Why is the government at war with a plant? They could be making money from it and pay down the debt everyone seems so concerned about.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

6 with the possiblity of 2 more opening related to this seems a bit much for a city this size. Also, if Ypsi is trying to get a certain 'look' to attract more people, having these every 501 feet won't be helping. I'm all for limiting the number...and counting the days until Robb tries to be re-elected.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

I voted you down too and unless you consider middle aged ladies to be "hipsters" you should reconsider your stereotypes


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Do we have a government sponsored algorithm for the appropriate amount of businesses per 100k people? Or is it just an eyeball test?

Angry Moderate

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

If there are too many for the city, they won't make a profit and they will go out of business. It's called supply and demand. Notice how city council doesn't have to centrally plan how many grocery stores and pawn shops the city needs.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

-11? Nice to see the hipsters are all in attendance on this article's comment thread. :-)


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

I am a long time active Ypsi voter and know Lois' games from experience. No, Ypsilanti does not need a moratorium. Pot should be as legal as booze. Why is she making a show of this? Why is Ricky claiming to take complaints from all over the city?? I don't smoke it. I think that those who do could probably put the money to better use but its their choice.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

They should get these complaints in writing so that they can read them at the meetings. If there truly is an uproar (I doubt there is), actual constituent letters would go a long way to proving their point instead of generalizations and, most likely, inflated numbers of complaints. I live here and I had no idea we had 5 dispensaries.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Marijuana culture isn't good for anyone. I voted to legalize Medical Marijuana, but at the time I thought it was going to be for hurting people. All of a sudden, I am seeing people skateboard up to the clinic to get their "pain" meds. Any limit to public pot culture is a win in my book.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Well you know, the weed---medicine--works so well, those people can go skateboarding, they are not in a fog and in pain. They fee great thanks in part of the medicine-weed.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

Great--so you want to ban things just because you don't like them. P.S. - how do you know that the patient on the skateboard doesn't have AIDS or glaucoma? When you go to CVS or Walgreen's, do you check everyone else's prescriptions to make sure that you approve of them?


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

No it isn't. It's like shutting down studio 4 in Ann Arbor because of the low class clientele. We do things like that all the time, and I don't think it's out of line for a local municipality to say that they don't want to encourage any more of a certain type of person, culture, or industry.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Way to make sweeping generalizations about people who use marijuana. That's like saying all people who drink beat their wives. You don't know everybody's situation, so lay off the stereotypes.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

Please understand i'm talking about the culture, not the drug. I won't argue the benefit the drug offers to people who are really hurting. I can't buy into relativism as far as the culture goes... i just don't see the benefit you see in 18 year old white kids with dreadlocks and longboards, as opposed to shampoo and jobs.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Please explain why it isn't good for anyone. Or is it just not good for you?


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Doctors in Michigan, or other states, may not legally prescribe marijuana without violating federal law because of its Schedule I status, which criminalizes the acts of prescribing, dispensing, and possessing marijuana for any purpose. Federal policy dictates that physicians who prescribes marijuana or other Schedule I drugs to a patient may be stripped of his or her federal license to prescribe drugs and be prosecuted. Why is it so hard for the media to report the truth!?!?!


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Doctors are not prescribing marijuana, they are recommending it. That is the difference.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

So how many Doctor's have actually had their federal licenses stripped?


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

However, on September 7, 2000, U.S. District Judge William Alsip ruled in Conant v. McCaffrey that federal authorities may not sanction doctors who recommend marijuana to patients. So, in lieu of a prescription, a physician can write a recommendation for a patient to obtain marijuana for medical reasons in states that have legalized medical marijuan

Katrease Stafford

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

In November, 74 percent of Ypsilanti's registered voters approved the proposal to redirect police efforts away from enforcing laws against marijuana use in the city of Ypsilanti. With that in mind, I'm interested to know how residents feel about a possible moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities.