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Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council to consider limit on medical marijuana facilities

By Tom Perkins

The Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night will consider an ordinance that would cap the number of new medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities in the city.

The new proposed ordinance comes after an emergency moratorium failed by a 3-3 vote in early June.

But this time it appears supporters of a cap have the votes to pass a permanent ordinance.

The emergency moratorium would have immediately prohibited any dispensaries from opening in the city, but needed to pass with four-fifths of council members approving.

Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson and Council Member Ricky Jefferson proposed the emergency moratorium because they said they had heard complaints from residents about the number of marijuana facilities.

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Richardson, Jefferson and Council Member Susan Moeller all voted in favor of it.

Mayor Paul Schreiber, Council Member Brian Robb and Council Member Dan Vogt voted against it. Council Member Pete Murdock abstained.

The new ordinance would allow six dispensaries and three grow facilities in the city, according to City Planner Teresa Gillotti.

Ypsilanti has the following dispensaries and grow facilities within city limits:

  • Ward 1 has two dispensaries, with one potential dispensary. The ward also has one grow facility and one potential grow facility.
  • Ward 2 has one dispensary.
  • Ward 3 has three dispensaries and one potential grow facility

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act passed overwhelmingly in Ypsilanti. In the 2008 vote on whether or not to legalize medical marijuana, Ward 1 voted 1,672 to 359 in favor of it. Ward 2 voted 2,278 to 577 in favor, and Ward 3 voted 1,833 to 441 in favor.

But the act doesn't include any language on the legality of dispensaries and grow operations, which has been a point of contention between supporters and opponents.

Schreiber said he voted against the emergency moratorium because the resolution stated that the issue protected "public peace, health, safety or welfare." Schreiber said he didn’t believe that the issue constituted a threat to public safety and warranted an emergency moratorium.

There were several medical marijuana facilities working to obtain licenses and Schreiber feared the city could open itself to legal issues.

Three operations had expressed an interest in opening in the city earlier this year. Those that have submitted paperwork wouldn't be impacted by the new legislation. GIllotti confirmed the owners of one operation had submitted paperwork but she did not respond to questions about the other two.

Schreiber told on Monday that he did support a cap on the number of facilities operating in the city and will vote in favor of the ordinance, giving council the necessary votes to pass a limit.

“I think at the time, I felt it was not a matter of public safety and welfare. I didn’t see that for this particular ordinance,” Schreiber said. “I did mention that I was in agreement with (Council Member) Murdock about capping the amount of licenses.”

“I intend to vote for the ordinance tomorrow night,” he added.

Schreiber said dispensary and grow operation issues remain “fluid” at the state level, which presents legal questions for local communities.

“The state needs to do a better job defining what local units of government are able to do. It would be risky for the city to be opening more medical marijuana facilities … and I think our community is well served with the number we have currently.”

Robb said he still opposed capping the number of medical marijuana facilities while Murdock said he didn't have a strong opinion one way or the other. Jefferson and Vogt couldn't be reached for comment.

Police Chief Amy Walker previously told council the current facilities have had relatively low calls for service, but she doesn't believe more would be good for the city. Between May 2012 and May 2013 all of the city's medical marijuana facilities had only five calls for service.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Council Chambers, 1 S. Huron St.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Contact the news desk at or 734-623-2572.



Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

If I were the financial manager for the city of Ypsilanti I would not seek to limit the number of dispensaries available. This appears to be a rapidly growing economic boom. Cities that are viewed as more open to people who are seeking out Marijuana under the current state laws might be Inclined to spend more money on other services available in Ypsilanti such as restaurants, shopping etc.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

I am just glad to hear that Ypsilanti is in a financial position to turn down tax paying businesses. *snark*

Steven Taylor

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

There's a downside to your 'tax paying business' statement. As disclosed in other articles relating to the various medical grow ops etc within Ypsi city limits. They've brought in a whopping taxable income of approximately 2K since allowed to open here. I certainly don't think Puff Danny's etc are bringing a considerable positive cash flow into the city coffers. They would have to consume several large bags of doritos from local party stores to do so. I don't care what people do with their money, however, we seem to be adding these dispensaries at a rather rapid rate. Tell me, would you approve of so many dollar stores or liquor stores going up in your community? Sure it's legal (which is still a question mark) and I'd rather not take what a city like A2(home of the Hash Bash) after all doesn't like or can't seem to pass(Last I knew, there were a lot more potsmoking granola chewers there than here) We as a city are better than A2 to just accept their cast offs. We can stand on our own.

Joey Ismail

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Next up a cap on pharmacies! We are being led by morons.....


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Good grief. If the City Council spent this amount of time and energy on figuring out what to do about Water Street, our debt issues would probably have been solved by now.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

No dope, but among the available remaining pastimes in Ypsi are: Ride the bus to Ann Arbor, or play basketball. Scratch that.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Has the city considered limiting the number of Dollar Stores?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Are any other types of businesses limited to certain number of storefronts? Has Ypsi limited the number of pharmacies, as they attract criminals and addicts?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

The war on plants is alive and well in Ypsi I guess...what a waste of time, effort, and money.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Yep John, I agree. prohibition doesn't work and never did.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

If they de criminalize pot, there would be a flood of growers, the price would quickly drop and we would get to a more resonable number spead out over the state instead fo concentrated in the few places it is less enforced. It isn't like having had pot make criminals of poeople for decades now and enriching crime lords beyound belief has worked by any rational measure you care to name.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

according to the clerk, there will only be five people at the meeting tonight. this needs four votes in order to pass.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

It is incomprehensible that the city council continues to waste more time and resources on this issue at the same time that the city is quickly headed towards insolvency. Bravo!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

I will wait until after tonight's meeting before I get too excited. For a city that is working on its image and scrutinizing Water Street opportunities endlessly, this would be a great thing. Especially if it means there won't be yet another one opening up on Huron, right by 94 as you are entering the city per a previous article although that might be one of the 'grandfathered' ones.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

I don't think being tolerant of marijuana users hurts Ypsilanti's image. Not with the right sort of people anyways. Not for the kind of people and businesses I would like to have attracted to our city.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : noon

Banning something because of beliefs. Sounds like a religion to me.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

Precisely. if YOU don't like it, then don't YOU smoke it but do not dictate to me or anyone else!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Whoa, a limit? PHEW! For a second there I thought the whole state of Michigan had gone "hands off" and let the marijuana industry run rampant. Thank the maker we have at least this one law to cap facilities, so that everybody and their dog doesn't drop what they're doing and open up a head shop.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Let the market decide how many are necessary. When government limits competition, prices tend to rise. And following the law of unintended consequences, when prices rise, more people will once again turn to the unregulated black market dealers.