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Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ypsilanti to consider emergency moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities

By Katrease Stafford

The Ypsilanti City Council will consider an emergency ordinance Tuesday to impose a moratorium on the issuing of permits and licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities.

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


The city of Ypsilanti may consider establishing an emergency moratorium on licensing and granting permits to medical marijuana grow facilities and dispensaries.

The Associated Press

In a request for legislation, City Attorney John Barr wrote that section 2.11 of the city charter allows for an emergency ordinance on first reading that could impose a moratorium for 60 days.

"I recommend a moratorium on permits and licenses for medical marijuana until staff can review (the) matter and make recommendations," Barr wrote. "I recommend that council consider and pass such an ordinance."

Bar noted a four-fifths majority vote of the council members present is needed for passage.

Richardson suggested the moratorium during the March 19 council meeting, stating she received a lot of complaints from residents.

There are six licensed dispensaries in the city of Ypsilanti and one of them is 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.

"For a city our size to have six, I think that's ample," Richardson said at the time.

Jefferson told the last three of four applications for a dispensary or grow facility have been for locations within Ward 1, the ward he represents.

Jefferson said the recent openings have resulted in a growing number of complaints and suspicions from residents that Ward 1 is "being targeted."

"Those complaints are coming from a ward where 83 percent of its voters helped to pass the medical marijuana bill into state law," Jefferson said. "We’re not advocating a ban; our concern is the density of these facilities in our area of the city where we already have a number of social issues is not fair. No other ward in Ypsilanti can compare with Ward 1 in having the same density of these facilities."

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he's not certain yet how he's going to vote on the emergency ordinance.

"As far as the ordinance itself, I don’t know," Schreiber said. "I really don’t feel strongly one way or the other. I'm getting comments from both sides from people that want to see them (rules) loosened and tightened."

However, Schreiber said the city does have it's "share of dispensaries," citing the reason was because the city overwhelmingly voted three to one to have medical marijuana facilities in the city.

"I’m interested in hearing an update from Ms. (Teresa) Gillotti and where she sees things going," Schreiber said. "From there, council can make a decision. I think an emergency ordinance as a moratorium would take quite a high sense of urgency that isn’t quite necessary."

Jefferson noted the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in Ypsilanti and in Michigan is a "great victory" for those who suffer from a variety of medical conditions and are experiencing relief and said the city has been supportive so far.

"Council is very accepting and accommodating in the city ordinance with regards to having this type of business in the city, but now that the ordinance has been put into practice, the issue of density is of great concern because of the chance of crowded conditions," Jefferson said. "The moratorium will grant city council time to review the ordinance to determine if there is cause for amendments.

I’m asking council to revisit and review the city ordinance to show accountability to the welfare of the residents I represent, who are concerned that there are too many facilities. I’m in no way seeking a ban. That would be against the will of the people."

The City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Ypsilanti City Hall.

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


The God-Motha

Thu, May 23, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

This seems silly - how many pharmacies are in the city where people can pick up lethal prescriptions (which incidentally the DEA has named as the biggest priority)? Also I see 1 growing facility and 2 possible growing facilities? Does Ypsilanti think there are only 15 registered patients in the whole city??

Steve Pierce

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

At least one one of these shops is in an R3 district on Ferris.

Steve McKeen

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Really? Where? That's closer to my house. It would save me time if could get my medicine there.

The Picker

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

Say good bye to Lois and Ricky! They don't recognize the real problems in Ypsilanti and use their time on this nonsense.

Andrew Jason Clock

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

Ypsilanti, the only city where a "Not In My Back Yard" issue is a city council emergency, but our continuing spiral into bankruptcy is business as usual. Also, Wards 1 and 3 are "targeted" for businesses to move into because they contain most of the city's business and industrial districts. You passed an ordinance that required this type of business to be in industrial or retail zones, and that's where they are being located. Shocking! I wonder how many complaints constitutes a "growing number"? My guess, as is usually the case in Ypsilanti, it's not about the number of complaints, but who is complaining. Our city has a long tradition of listening to the complaints of certain residents and ignoring those of other, less connected residents, even if those less connected residents are a majority. I would be surprised if that's not the case here. In the end, it's just another case of council wasting time. The market will regulate the industry, and in the mean time, the city can collect taxes from a type of business that city residents overwhelmingly approved of.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

I don't smoke it and really don't care who does but can they grow it outside of city limits that stuff smells!! I should not have to explain why people houses smell like a skunk!

Weaver from Ypsi

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Actually, the reason why Ypsilanti smells like skunk is because we are infested with an overabundance of sick skunks!!!

The God-Motha

Thu, May 23, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Interestingly, science has shown that the compounds that make up the smell of cannabis are the same compounds that make up the smell in lavender, thyme, rosemary, orange, and LOTS of other plants. Saying you want cannabis growing outside of city limits because of the smell is both discriminatory and ludicrous! You aren't mandating that Lavender and other spices be grown only outside of city limits, right? you say it smells like skunk because you've been programmed to think that weed smells like skunk, but skunk pheromones are completely different that the terpenes shared by most plants.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

If it is done right there is no smell and if you are always explaining smells to people, why not just stick with what it smells like...a skunk..


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

How about you just let the market decide how many the city needs? I don't see anyone banning CVS or Walgreens from opening up on every corner!


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

The way I see it, is a few people are still upset the times are changing and the PEOPLE voted for this new way of living. It's sad to say that we are still having this conversation at all, just legalize and let's move on! I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I believe there are more pressing issues than an "emergency" moratorium on marijuana in Ypsi!? I commend Ypsi for holding their ground. While Ann Arbor still tries to find ways to muddy the waters (to many of the wrong people voicing their opinion), Ypsi is trying to thrive on a business model that "WILL" prosper, service the community, and raise money to help a well needed community (through taxation). I truly wonder about the "ones" that vote against this! If I were a betting man, I would wager that most of the individuals (city/county officials and residents) still drink alcohol and/or smoke cigarettes. Does that mean we should ban alcohol and cigarettes because they are in far more businesses than marijuana....wait, we tried that a long time ago....It was called did that turn out!? Long story short, Ypsi keep being you and drawing the line in the sand with legislation in doing what YOU want to do. Remember, it's the PEOPLE that chose to have medical Marijuana legal in our great state of let the people be heard! Or simply ask yourself (opposers)...should we just shut these businesses down and take to the streets like it used to be? At least this way it can be more controlled and TAXED to help where the help is most needed. Marijuana smokers aren't going away so why not try and work together to keep the smokers happy and tax dollars coming in for the schools, roads, police, etc! It's like the hands on the clock....things are always moving forward....don't take steps backward!!

Katrease Stafford

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

I just received this information from the city as well. Here's a breakdown of where the dispensaries/grow facilities are right now and where future ones may be located as well: Ward 1 – 2 dispensaries, 1 potential dispensary, 1 grow facility and 1 potential grow facility Ward 2 – 1 dispensary Ward 3 – 3 dispensaries & 1 potential grow facility


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

The map:


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Looking at the ward map this shouldn't be too surprising. Wards 1 and 3 are the vast majority of the city's commercial/industrial districts. Most of the commercial strip on Washtenaw in Ward 2 is likely too close to the schools.

Wilford John Presler IV

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Wilford John Presler IV

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

How Long? Not Long!

Katrease Stafford

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Here's more information from the city: "The City of Ypsilanti 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 for growing only. The intent with the zoning ordinance was to permit dispensaries in such a way that they were dispersed through the various business districts rather than clustered into one particular district Additionally, it was felt by the city that the dispensaries should be 1,000 feet from a school and that no two dispensaries or growing facilities be within 500 feet of one another. " With that information in mind that the dispensaries should be dispersed through the various districts, as opposed to within one, it appears this is one reason why Council Member Ricky Jefferson believes there should be a moratorium to allow the city to look into where future ones will be located. He wants to make sure that they're not all being placed within Ward 1.


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 10:35 a.m.

It was pointed out, during the meeting by Council member Murdock, that the reason Ward 1 has more dispensing facilities, is because most of the appropriate zoning districts for dispensaries, exist there. There is no conspiracy to "dump" on the area, and there have been no issues there, or anywhere, and no reason to be scared of a possible additional facility that is currently in the licensing process now. No actual reasoning was ever given or discussed, that should compel council members to cap the number if facilities.

Wilford John Presler IV

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

The market will ultimately limit the density...just like Starbucks...there is a saturation point...


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Only a few years ago, Ypsi voters went three to one in favor of these places. Now they have them. What's the problem here? It's not like they're manufacturing Agent Orange or methamphetamines.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky... The "our concern" is that these facilities are somehow related to already existing social issues is a complete front for saying he flat out doesn't want them. I have no problem with stating that limits may need to be set, but under the same guidelines as limits to restaurants, party stores and other facilities. There is plenty of precendence on how to limit facilities. No need for 60 days to figure out density. Gee, can you count to four? Now divide by the number of voters...

Joey Ismail

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

So what's the emergency again? I've read the article twice and i can't find even one reason this should be an issue or any importance, much less an emergency. A few people saying they think there are too many pharmacies, dispensarys, starbucks, those aren't emergencies. If this is an issue that needs to be discussed, fine. But lets not make it out to be something it's not.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

I read the whole article and didn't read any reason as to WHY they should impose a moratorium. How about a moratorium on politicians who squander city assets on failed Real Estate projects?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Yes, keep the black market healthy and the drug lords rich by all means.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

Yes, let's stop one of the few things that is bringing people to Ypsi and one of the ONLY things in Ypsi that is making money and expanding. Maybe we can replace these highly lucrative dispensaries with something else awesome, say... a Family Dollar? Because we definitely don't have enough of those in Ypsi. Didn't I read an article somewhere about that.... What's that you say? We don't want to bring THOSE types of people to Ypsi? They already live here in droves people, let's not make them spend their pot money in Ann Arbor or elsewhere; let's keep it right here where we desperately need it! I say fund our schools and roads with pot money because we sure as heck aren't getting money from anywhere else!

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Gee just make it legal already!


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

So, other than some "feeling" there are too many in one area, what is the problem? Are these throngs of medical marijuana users spilling out into the streets? Is that the "crowded condition" some are concerned about?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

"city overwhelmingly voted three to one to have medical marijuana facilities in the city." But that doesn't mean the residents want one every 3 blocks or one as the 'gateway' into Ypsilanti as mentioned in an earlier article at an empty building on Huron near 94.

The God-Motha

Thu, May 23, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Every 3 blocks? There's only 3 things in that ward and I'm guessing the growing facility doesn't have any signs. Does that mean each ward is 9 square blocks?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

And the many Ward 1 people who are speaking up per the story. If this were to happen as often in other wards, I'm sure the residents who were against the idea would speak up as well.

Joey Ismail

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

You speak for yourself, not every resident.

Tom Joad

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 10:33 a.m.

The City of Ypsilanti has no right under state law to sanction the operation of these illegal facilities. All permits to operate dispensaries and grow facilities should be rescinded and these operation closed down until the state legislature enacts appropriate legislation allowing this method of sale of medical marijuana. Obviously the city's participation in this charade is strictly to maintain their economic interest in the revenue stream derived from the illegal sale of medical marijuana. If these despensaries have no legal basis on which to operate under state law then the city has an obligation to follow the more supreme state law when their own local ordinances contravene it.

Joey Ismail

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Lol, you sound like my 8 year old cousin after a "law and order marathon"! Don't quit your day job.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

Actually, they do.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

I'm sorry, maybe I missed something, How is this an emergency? Crowded conditions? seriously?