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Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Ypsilanti delays decision on emergency moratorium for medical marijuana facilities

By Katrease Stafford


The chart shows where the city's medical marijuana facilities are located and where potential ones may be placed.

Courtesy Ypsilanti

The Ypsilanti City Council delayed its decision Tuesday on the proposed emergency moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities, after several community members and business owners voiced their concerns during the meeting.

Council member Ricky Jefferson and Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson brought forth the ordinance, which requested no additional permits and licenses be granted related to medical marijuana until city staff reviews the present density of licenses already granted.

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The Ypsilanti City Council voted to postpone its decision on an emergency moratorium on medical marijuana facilities.

Council voted 4-3 to table the ordinance until its June 4 regular meeting to discuss the matter further. Richardson, council member Daniel Vogt, Jefferson, and council member Susan Moeller voted in favor of the tabling. Mayor Paul Schreiber, and council members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock voted against it.

"This seems like an absolute abuse of the emergency ordinance," Robb said. "The 60 days doesn’t really give you time to do anything."

The emergency moratorium would impose a moratorium for 60 days on any new marijuana grow facilities and dispensaries opening in the city.

Jefferson said his main concern was the high number of facilities being located within Ward 1.

Dispensaries and grow facilities within the city:

  • 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 city has six licensed dispensaries, with one undergoing a renewal process. According to city staff, there is an application in process for a new dispensary to open.

The city has one licensed grow facility and two grow facilities in the application process.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti said keeping in mind the requirements already in place on dispensaries and grow facilities, the city has room for a maximum of between 10 and 14. The city was originally looking at potentially allowing up to 30.

Gillotti said the city receives many calls from parties interested in opening up more facilities.

"Business owners still think that there's a demand," she said. "We get calls all the time."

There are additional areas where a dispensary can theoretically be located, Gillotti said, including the former Taco Bell on Ecorse Road, a space within the 800-900 block of West Michigan Avenue, and potentially the 500-600 block of West Michigan, although this is less likely based on the existing landlords and businesses.

A facility on Railroad Street has applied for a license and the approval is pending site plan approval/construction for a grow facility, and a proposed facility on Catherine Street has received the special use permit and site plan approvals. Work is currently underway on the site and building including sidewalk expansion, stormwater management and building improvements, Gillotti said.

In addition to that, Gillotti said there is potential for approximately two more growing facilities, one in the "Industrial Park" area and another at the former Wooden Nickel on Huron River Drive across the street from the Peninsular Place Apartments.

Richardson said that when she and Jefferson first proposed the moratorium, it was not proposed as an emergency. Richardson said City Attorney John Barr advised the city to consider making it an emergency ordinance.

"That was the legal perspective," Richardson said. "I intrepereted that he was stongly in favor that council adopt this resolution. Mr. Barr was the one who chose the emergency route. With the city of Ypsilanti being four square miles, why would we want 15 grow facilities dispensaries? That’s a lot. Let people go to their doctors and go to the pharmacy."

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Council member Ricky Jefferson

Data provided by the Ypsilanti Police Department shows that calls for police service between May 2012 and May 2013 at Ypsilanti's dispensaries and grow facilities were relatively minimum:

  • Herbal Solutions dispensary at 124 W. Michigan Avenue received no police calls related to the dispensary.
  • Cannacure dispensary at 50 Ecorse Road received a call on Oct. 2, 2012 for an attempted breaking and entering. No entry was gained to the facility.
  • 3rd Coast Compassion Center dispensary at 19 N. Hamilton had a reported "unfounded" alarm on March 23, 2013.
  • Depot Town Dispensary at 35 E. Cross St. had a report of an unfounded alarm on July 29, 2012 and a call on January 13, 2013 for an attempted breaking and entering
  • St. Indica's Coalition of Kindness, Sticky Ypsi, dispensary at 1090 North Huron River Drive had a report of an unfounded alarm
  • The Shop dispensary at 513 W. Cross Street had no calls for service.
  • Green Vitality grow facility at 576 S. Mansfield had no calls.

Richardson said despite there not being many reported instances of issues at the dispensaries and grow facilities, she has personally witnessed troubling behavior at the dispensary on Ecorse Road.

"I watched people going in and out and certainly a number of people I saw going in and out did not appear to need medical marijuana," Richardson said. "They lit up right in the parking lot. I don’t think we stop and thnk about what sort of pressure this is going to put on our police department. There was enough marijuana smoke in the air that I thought, let me move before I get a marijuana contact (high)."

Jamie Lowell of 3rd Coast Compassion Center said he believes it's perfectly reasonable for the city to put a cap on the number of facilities within the city, but he believes more time should go into the consideration of the moratorium.

"To have an emergency moratorium is kind of inapproapriate," Lowell said.

Victoria James, a lifelong Ypsilanti resident and area pastor, said she was against more dispensaries and grow facilities opening in the city.

"I love the city of Ypsilanti," James said. "This is where I raised my children.The last thing I want people to see is more marijuana. That's just not what this city needs. I embrace people wherever they are, but that is not what needs to happen at the entryway of the city of Ypsilanti."

Ypsilanti resident John Evans said he relocated to the city particularly because of its marijuana laws. Evans said he has a grow facility within his home that is regularly inspected.

"I love this town, it has character and charm and history," Evans said. "Right now we have the chance to take advantage of this new industry. I don't think we need a moratorium."

Valerie Brown-Tooson, an Ypsilanti resident, said marijuana is a drug and should be regulated as such.

"As much as it's identified as medical marijuana, it’s a drug," Brown-Tooson said. "I’m totally against it being at the gateway of the Ypsilanti community. Coupled with the problems we already have in that area, to place something at the entry of Ypsilanti is an eyesore. That’s not the flower or the vase we should present coming into the city."

Adam Tasselmyer, the founder of Herbal Solutions, said his business, along with the other five dispensaries, employs local residents and improved the look of previously unused buildings.

Ypsilanti resident Lee Tooson echoed the thoughts of several other residents who spoke against the addition of more facilities, saying it's time the city stop being the "dumping grounds" of businesses other communities within Washtenaw County don't want.

"I knew this kind of thing was coming because it has not stopped," Tooson said. "Ypsilanti as always been the dumping ground for things other places don't want. They dump it on the southside of Ypsilanti. We should be interested in the livelihood of our children and how is that going to affect them and their coming up. It's nothing but a legalized dope house."

The city has already adopted two ordinances, one regarding zoning of medical marijuana facilities and another determining the licensing process for medical marijuana dispensaries, growing facilities and home occupations.

The zoning ordinance outlines where dispensaries and grow facilities can be dispersed through the various business districts rather than clustered into one particular district. The dispensaries can also be located within business districts. Growing, smoking, or other uses of medical marijuana at a dispensary is prohibited.

Dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from a school and no two dispensaries or growing facilities can be within 500 feet of one another.

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


Michigan Man

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

Lung disease, COPD, cancer of the mouth + throat, dental issues, emphysema, etc all on the rise in Ypsilanti as a result of this measure. Quality of life in Ypsilanti will go south very fast. Many fine citizens, those with jobs, income and mobility, will just move out of Ypsilanti leaving an already challenged city with additional insurmountable problems.


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

hahaha please provide a source for your comments. Is this perhaps a flier they hand out to you before you pack up and go try to bribe doctors into buying your pills that cause liver/kidney/heart failure/death as well as a ridiculously large list of other issues caused by pills.

Peter A Webb

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

"I watched people going in and out and certainly a number of people I saw going in and out did not appear to need medical marijuana." Sounds like it's working!


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

I applaud Councilman Jefferson and Councilwoman Richardson and all the residents from Ypsilanti southside, the city and township for opposing the increase of these unmonitored drug stores in Ypsilanti, especially on the southside, which is recoverying from a drug epidemic that lasted thoughout the 70's till 2000's. We have all seen the devastation that drugs have done to this community and its' citizens. It was clearly stated by the councilman and councilwoman that they had nothing against, medical reefer for legal and medically approved PATIENTS. In fact, it was suggested that it (medical reefer) ought to be sold out of pharmacies instead of dispenseries so that it can be monitored. After all, we do have colleges here, which is one of our main source of revenue. People do not want to send their kids where there's a risk on getting their college savings plundered and the possibility their kids can become drugs addicts instead of professional. I believe it was mentioned that there is a plan to open up over 40 stores/dispensaries throughout the city. The city has a total distance/radius of only a four miles! Figure out the math, and if that is too hard to do, there is an ole saying that goes, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste!"


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Your comparing a drug epidemic to state regulated and city enforced Dispensary. The fact that your referring to it as reefer shows your old mind frame of thinking just like everyone else who opposes CANNABIS. Doctors can and do prescribe it, most wont because there is a mountain of papers that are required for each patient. Not to mention that most doctors are paid and or backed by pharmaceutical companies that push pills that aren't thoroughly tested. And I'm sure ALL the alcohol that is purchased consumed and vomitted back out from those hard working none drug abusing college kids is something that isn't happening on college campuses. Most rules and regulations related to the law and dispensaries are pretty severe and strict. Most card holders are smart enough to not want to neglect these laws as to have their card revoked. They simply wouldn't risk it. By the way dispensaries, although not pharmicies, are very regulated and operate they same way. The tenders are usually well educated on the meds they are providing, and why wouldn't they be, it's not some Sean Penn character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High being a stupid stoner. Do you realize how many business people, doctors, lawyers, and even expolice or military that find relief in cannabis.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

I am glad there are so many like minded people out there that I don't have to attack the misinformation that seems to keep spewing from the anti cannabis regime. Thank you for already doing so. The fact is that the dispensaries are bringing in outside revenue besides that which it is already paying to the city. There are people shopping at stores, purchasing gas, eating at resturaunts, and paying for lodging that typically woulnd't be doing so in Ypsi. There are people that come into this city from all over the state and are spending their hard earned money, why turn them away. You want to talk about dumping things into Ypsi, why not stop dumping on Ypsi. Why doesn't the members of council that are opposing this take a look at the numbers and see how much of an increase in revenue has jumped and how much is being done to and for the community!


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

In addition...all the people who oppose cannabis will do so morally or spiritually with ignorant bliss. They will never support it, just like homosexuality. Everyone is against gays until some one they know comes out and all the sudden they're cool with it. They will perpetually oppose it until some one they know has a life changing experience where cannabis has helped them save their life or significantly increased their health or well being. Then and only then will they take up in arms with the rest of us who are smart enough to see what this tree of life can do for so many. One plant for dozens of medical uses or dozens of pills for one medical condition, we should have the right to choose. And don't forget the extensive laundry list of harmful side effects that are HARMFUL AND FATAL.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Gee, instead of making the drug lords rich, putting thousands of peons in jails, clogging the court system and requiring many more police we are letting business people supply the wants of those who choose to smoke. Sounds terrible!


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Once again, Richardson and Jefferson have proven themselves incapable, incompetent and ignorant of the facts. They embarrass and humiliate not only themselves, but their constituents and the city as a whole. What a disgrace!

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Glad I'am not the only one that they to research what it really does for you


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Thanks goodness we have councilpersons like Brian Robb who tend to counterbalance the ignorance and gross incompetence of extremists like Jefferson and Richardson.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

It's a good thing that all the terminally-ill 20 year olds with sideways baseball caps and ICP t-shirts who smoke cigarettes outside of the dispensaries will still have access to their life-saving "medicine". If marijuana is such an effective treatment for everything from brain cancer to ingrown toenails, then why will no self-respecting physician in a 100 mile radius prescribe it? There are plenty of dispensaries in town for now. I favor decriminalization, but not farce under the guise of "compassion".

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

you hit the nail on the head . I have never seen any one standing outside any of the places smoking but there is drug dealers on every coner


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

ICP t-shirts and sideways baseball caps? this isn't the early 90's anymore my friend. Get a hold of yourself.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

Hey beermaestro. You are an idiot.

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Meanwhile the struggle for civil rights continues in DC as pro-legalization protesters are manhandled by Washington DC police:


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

I have to comment on this. I'm not for or against marijuana in general, I think what people do in their homes is their business. I frequently shop at the same retail center that the dispensary on Ecorse is in (every few days) and I have never seen the behavior Ms. Richardson is describing, and quite frankly, I have a hard time believing it. Just the other day as I was going into the store next door, I held the door for a young gentlemen in a wheelchair, and I thought how nice this young man doesn't have to deal with criminals in the street to get the medicine his doctor recommended. And regarding people "appearing to need medical marijuana", does an AIDS or cancer patient "appear" to need medical marijuana? That is discriminatory, plain and simple.

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

I have done much better with smoking than all the pills they had me on and it helps with my pain and cancer. Every one looks at what you look like but they have no ideal what you are feeling inside. Thank you Nathan


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

We are making significant decisions that will permanently impact the image and culture of our city. Are we so desperate for tax dollars that we are willing to compromise out city's image and the environment? .Will expanding MM dispensaries in the long run lead us in the direction that we want our city to go. Will expansion encourage young families to move to Ypsilanti. or potential business that may not want to be part of the growing MM capital of the county. Regulating this issue does not pertain to whether of not one feels it is right or wrong to legalize M. Until it does become 'legal' to the public still is illegal and hence the expansion of dispensaries are potentially problematic. It is good that currently calls to YPD have been relatively minimal. Lets keep it that more dispensaries. Look at the map people. In a four square mile area do we really need that many MM dispensaries. I would implore the Mayor and city counsel to not be short sighted and to support a permanent moratorium on MM businesses.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

"We are making significant decisions that will permanently impact the image and culture of our city. Are we so desperate for tax dollars that we are willing to compromise our city's image and the environment?" I have to wonder the same thing. This seems to fly in the face of everything they said about their vision of Water Street and what they wanted it to be and who they wanted there. Granted, the first business is a Family Dollar so maybe they don't really care.

Blue Marker

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Replace "dispensaries" with "McDonalds" and ask yourself the same questions.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Yes, yes, yes and yes to all of your questions. Let the market decide how many of these businesses are sustainable and enjoy the tax base it will create. The marijuana "image" hasn't really damaged Ann Arbor too badly has it?


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

We heard several of the same old tired misinformation from some citizens and council members last night. Many of these people appeared to be compassionate caring community members, but without any practical knowledge of cannabis. What was revealed last night was an unfortunate display of ignorance on an issue that will require more education, so that these people can make more informed decisions on this issue.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

We tell your kids & the world how important it is to vote, when the BIG government turns around & tells them they don't agree with what the will of the people voted for. What kind of message is that? Why vote if it's just going to be shot down by a bunch of men in suits.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

These are viable businesses which are regulated, pay taxes, locate in unused previously non-tax paying sites, and as the article shows, they require little of the local police. How has stopping them become an emergency? Let the laws of supply and demand dictate the numbers just as they do with other businesses. Too many fast food places and one or more will fail. Same with these places. BTW, John Barr appears to be uneducated on this issue. The dispensaries ARE the pharmacies for Medical Marijauna .

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

So well said


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

A moratorium on a moratorium vote? Nicely done. Well played.

malcolm kyle

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 7:50 a.m.

Prohibitionism is intensely, rabidly, frantically, frenetically, hysterically anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-public-health, ant-public-safety, and anti-economy. An important feature of prohibitionism (which it closely shares with fascism) is totalitarianism. That means: A police state apparatus; widespread surveillance, arbitrary imprisonment or even murder of political opponents, mass-incarceration, torture, etc. Like despicable, playground bullies, prohibitionists are vicious one moment, then full of self-pity the next. They whine and whinge like lying, spoilt brats, claiming they just want to "save the little children", but the moment they feel it safe to do so, they use brute force and savage brutality against those they claim to be defending. Prohibitionists actually believe that they can transcend human nature and produce a better world. They allow only one doctrine, an impossible-to-obtain drug-free world. All forms of dissent, be they common-sense, scientific, constitutional, or democratic, are simply ignored, and their proponents vehemently persecuted. During alcohol prohibition (1919-1933), all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. While battling over turf, young men died on inner-city streets. Corruption in Law Enforcement and the Judiciary went clean off the scale. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have been far more wisely allocated. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, in 1929, the economy collapsed. Does that sound familiar?


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Malcolm, I couldn't have said it better! Free The Weed! Prohibition does NOT work and NEVER will!

Tom Joad

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4:47 a.m.

The proliferation of dispensaries becomes a net loss for other businesses in Ypsilanti. The easy availability of marijuana at $400 an oz means buyers are not spending those dollars in other shops and restaurants. The medical marijuana statute in no way envisioned enterprises of great profit to result from allowing the cultivation of a limited number of plants and possession of cannabis for medical reasons. Those patients who fraudulently obtained a scammed recommendation from a prescription-mill doctor aren't doing the legitimately ill patient any favor by increasing demand and thus making their medical marijuana nearly prohibitively expensive. The state legislature recently instituted tougher qualifications to obtain medical marijuana but they have not gone far enough in curbing abuse by those who are gaming the system. If marijuana is to be treated as a drug then it should be strictly regulated and only dispensed by licensed pharmacists who have the requisite knowledge of its side effects and contraindications in its use. Some clerk in a dispensary is not qualified nor licensed to offer pharmaceutical advice as to its use


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

hahahahah wow are you sure that you haven't smoked this morning? So based off of your awesome example of this actually hurting businesses nearby let me learn you something. Somebody that is about to go buy $400 of weed is not going to go spend $400 at the business next door just because there is no dispensary nearby. You know what they will do? They will call up their guy and give HIM the $400, considering WEED was what they had intended to purchase with that money in the first place. If you have businesses paying taxes to the city and then making money, perhaps the people that own and work at said business can then SUPPORT the neighboring businesses. You clearly lack knowledge in business as well as medical marijuana. Also as the Medical marijuana industry grew in California, the price of weed went down thus making it cheaper for the patients.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

So your first point is "People should spend money on frivolities instead of medicine"... that's the most cold-hearted thing I've ever heard. Your second point is "drugs are dispensed by doctors".... you know alcohol is a drug, right?

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 4 a.m.

Lets keep it in the shops where you can get it the right way. Do the people want the drug dealers in the street. Are the mad cause it is taking sells away from the dealers on the street. Keep it legal


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

im not sure why councilman jefferson and mayor pro tem richardson think this is what most residents want. I can tell you that myself and many other think that the medcal marihuana disensaries and grow facilities are being good neighbors. Operating within the law, paying taxes is just what our city need. They are being good citizens. and Mayor Pro Tem Richardsons assertion that "people dd not APPEAR to need Medical Marihuana, is not only presumptious, but also insulting. what magic powers does she possess that she thinks she can judge someone just by how they look? I say no magic powers, just an old fashioned and out of date view of medical marihuana. A view that isnt good for our city.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:09 a.m.

Can you imagine saying that to a cancer patient? "Well, you don't LOOK sick, so I don't think you are"


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

"I watched people going in and out and certainly a number of people I saw going in and out did not appear to need medical marijuana," Richardson said...... Ah, you can not tell by looking at a person if they need MM. The reason they might seem perfectly fine is because the MM helps them in many ways. They feel better and sleep better all because they are being treated with the right medicine and not powerful pain and sleep medication to feel better.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Paul, you are so right and my daughter would agree with you(4 back surgeries to date....)!

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Mr. Richardson you are NOT a Dr. I wonder if you sit outside Walgreen or CVS & judge if the people going in are sick enough for you. I feel we have to many drug stores, they are on every corner. Maybe the drug stores are behind this resistance to the will of the people after all it has to be cutting into their profits


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

"That was the legal perspective," Richardson said. "I intrepereted that he was stongly in favor that council adopt this resolution. Mr. Barr was the one who chose the emergency route. With the city of Ypsilanti being four square miles, why would we want 15 grow facilities dispensaries? That's a lot. Let people go to their doctors and go to the pharmacy." This guy is clueless. You can't get MM from a pharmacy. When he says, "That's a lot," is it a lot if there's a demand for it?