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Posted on Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Marijuana dispensary owner: 'We're not trying to hide anything, but this is getting a little ridiculous'

By Ryan J. Stanton


Keith Lambert, co-owner of the OM of Medicine dispensary at 112 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor, is chafing under scrutiny of City Attorney Stephen Postema's office. "We're not trying to hide anything, but this is getting a little ridiculous," he said of recent letters Postema's office has sent to dispensaries that are seeking licenses from the city.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Tensions between Ann Arbor's medical marijuana licensing board and the city attorney's office are behind a resolution on the City Council's agenda Monday night.

The resolution seeks to halt enforcement activities against dispensaries in Ann Arbor until council members can decide on changes to the city's medical marijuana regulations.

Sponsoring the resolution is Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, who serves as the council liaison on the citizen-led licensing board.

The board is asking the council to clarify the city staff's role in the dispensary-licensing process and wants City Attorney Stephen Postema to delay further action regarding medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities — except for claims that they're in the wrong zoning district — until council makes a decision on amending the city's ordinances.

The City Council voted 8-2 last June, after nearly a year of discussions, to enact zoning and licensing ordinances for medical marijuana businesses in Ann Arbor.


City Attorney Stephen Postema

But when the city began receiving applications for dispensary licenses last fall, the city attorney's office determined the city was obligated by those new ordinances to confirm whether each dispensary was legally operating in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

"This placed an undue and unanticipated burden on staff," reads a memo accompanying Briere's resolution on Monday's agenda.

The licensing board voted in late January to recommend awarding licenses to all 10 dispensaries in Ann Arbor that have applied for licenses since last fall.

The city attorney's office, through Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom, sent a slew of letters to the dispensaries recently, requesting detailed information about their business models, and asking questions such as how many patients they serve and how much money they charge for their products.

Briere said if she were a dispensary owner in Ann Arbor she'd be uncomfortable receiving one of those letters.

"I would feel that I was being asked to provide information somebody could then play 'gotcha' with," she said, adding the city attorney's office seems to be presuming the dispensaries are operating illegally and asking them to prove they are legal.

Dispensary owners aren't happy and want the city attorney's office to back off, said Keith Lambert, co-owner of the OM of Medicine dispensary at 112 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor.

"We feel the city and everybody on the city level is behind us, but we feel like the city attorney is kind of taking a personal agenda here that's not really in line with the will of the voters," he said, noting an overwhelming majority of Ann Arbor voters support medical marijuana.

"If you went into Apple right now and you were like, 'I want to know every single thing about how you do your business,' I don't think Apple would be like, 'OK,'" Lambert said. "We're not trying to hide anything, but this is getting a little ridiculous. Any other business doesn't have this sort of circumspection surrounding it, and we just want to be treated fairly like anybody else."

Postema says he has no personal agenda against dispensaries and that he's just trying to enforce the law.

No presumption of legality

Briere shared some of the same concerns that dispensary owners have expressed — that the city attorney seems to be presuming dispensaries are guilty until proven innocent.


Many cannabis-related products are for sale at the OM of Medicine medical marijuana dispensary at 112 S. Main St.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"The only scenario he envisions as legal is where there's one caregiver and five patients and they're tied together through the state registry," Briere said.

"I can't come up with a dispensary model where that works," she said, noting caregivers are allowed to grow only 12 plants per patient and it takes eight weeks to grow one plant. "So to get somebody to provide you with a medicine you need is a constant battle, and if you are somebody who is actually ill, fighting that battle becomes overwhelmingly difficult." obtained copies of the letters sent to several dispensaries on Feb. 24. In them, the city attorney's office asks questions like: If a patient transfers marijuana to another patient, where does the registered qualifying patient get the marijuana from? And does any patient to whom marijuana is transferred ever pay, donate, or in any way give money to the dispensary or to anyone else? If so, to whom is the money given and how much?

"The courts have said these sales are illegal," Postema said. "And therefore any dispensary that has a sale model, we would need to know more about that.

"That's why we had the application process and they provided information, and now we're asking for further information."

Postema declined to comment when asked if he believed any of the dispensaries seeking licenses from the city are in compliance with state law, but he said they're clearly in violation of federal law. He said he's still analyzing the issue and he'll advise council privately.

"There's nothing unusual about it," added Postema. "And we cant just say there's a presumption of legality because that's nowhere in the law."

Asked whether there's a threat of imminent enforcement action against any dispensaries in Ann Arbor, Postema said only that the city has a pending lawsuit against the Treecity Health Collective. The city claims the dispensary at 1712 S. State St. is a public nuisance because it's in a zoning district where medical marijuana dispensaries are not allowed.

"My understanding from their attorney is they have or will be moving shortly," Postema said. "To that extent, I'll keep in touch with them. They need to move from the location they have, and whether and how they can operate after that really depends on further review."


Briere is pushing for changes to the city's medical marijuana ordinances on behalf of the city's medical marijuana licensing board.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The licensing board has been meeting since October and has determined some changes to the city's medical marijuana regulations could help clarify the city staff's role in the process. The board released a detailed report in late January with its recommendations.

The report recommended 10 dispensaries for licenses, keeping the number of potential licenses capped at no more than 20, establishing license fees and various changes to the zoning and license ordinances, including deleting a section requiring dispensaries and cultivation facilities to operate in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

Acting on behalf of the board, Briere is asking fellow council members to discuss and decide on changes to the city's medical marijuana regulations by June 18.

"The board feels the city should go ahead and license dispensaries because of the need, and because if you don't license dispensaries you can't control them," she said. "What the board doesn't want is to push marijuana underground and it seems clear to me that concern is what they're acting on. They want the dispensary process visible and public and controllable."

In addition to Briere, the city's medical marijuana licensing board includes four citizens: Jim Kenyon, Patti O'Rorke, Gene Ragland and John Rosevear. The board is recommending the city establish a $1,100 license fee for dispensaries and a $350 fee for license renewal. Those fees are separate from licensing application fees already established at $600.

Interpreting the law

Lambert, who started his dispensary in downtown Ann Arbor in July 2010, said he believes his business is in compliance with state law.

"And we're talking about that with our lawyers," he said. "We feel like there's a conflict in terms of how people interpret the law. They're more interpreting the law and saying 'this is how it should be' and they're stating it as fact, and actually this is still an opinion."

In addition to OM of Medicine and Treecity, the other dispensaries seeking licenses from the city are: Green Planet, 700 Tappan St.; Ann Arbor Health Collective, 2350 E. Stadium Blvd.; People's Choice, 2245 W. Liberty St.; Greenbee Collective, 401 S. Maple St.; Ann Arbor Wellness Collective, 321 E. Liberty St.; MedMaRx at Arborside, 1818 Packard St.; Medical Grass Station, 325 W. Liberty St.; and Patient's Resource Center, 3820 Varsity Drive.


The colorfully-decored patient waiting area at OM of Medicine also is the setting of monthly comedy shows and voter initiative projects.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The City Council is ultimately responsible for approving the licenses. Briere said the earliest the council could have considered them would have been in March, but now the process is likely to be delayed while the council works to sort out all the issues surrounding the ordinances.

Postema said the council is welcome to make changes to the ordinances as it sees fit. In the meantime, he's closely following the issue on a statewide level.

"Certainly the courts are parsing through this, and we're taking the time to look at all models that are being proposed to look at them within the context of the law," he said.

Lambert and other dispensary owners are backing a grassroots initiative to put the question of fully legalizing marijuana in Michigan to state voters in November.

While that might cause other issues to arise, Postema said, it would make it much easier to deal with issues around dispensaries at the local level.

"In other states, the dispensaries are clearly legal under state law," Postema said. "And under ours, it's been this whole process of determining what's what. The courts have had to look at it and it's been a lot of work."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

I can't believe that Mr. Lambert claims he isn't hiding anything. His business is dependent on the majority being hoodwinked by the ludicrous idea that pot has medicinal benefits.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

I wish the law allowed me to just present my paperwork from the Cancer Center at U of M stating that I am under their care for Cancer concerns. Dispensaries should have a list of illnesses that qualify for Medical Marijuana and SKIP the expensive and lengthy (half year in my case) process to get a card from the State of Michigan with not even a Caregiver available for me! I hate wasting my money....and I am up for renewal soon? There has to be a better and more thoughtful process for people qualifying for Medical Marijuana as a starting point... and skip this inept and burdensome processing through the State!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Right George, don't believe the experts... believe you.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

What "experts" are YOU listening to?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Sorry, should have been a reply to the first post by g.orwell.

Malcolm Kyle

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:50 a.m.

Prohibition is overwhelmingly responsible for an immense increase in organized crime, international terrorism, rampant official corruption, a broken economy, mass unemployment and a serious undermining of international security and development. Corporate greed and individual bigotry have accelerated us towards a situation where all the usual peaceful and democratic methods, which can usually be employed to reverse such acute damage, no longer function as our founders intended. Such a political impasse coupled with our great economic tribulation is precisely that which throughout history has often ignited extreme social upheaval and violent revolution. Fortunately we are left with one last peaceful avenue for change – Jury Nullification. Jury Nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but do not deserve punishment. - All non-violent 'drug offenders' who are not selling to children - be they users, dealers or importers - clearly belong in this category. If you sincerely believe that prohibition is a dangerous and counter-productive policy then you must stop helping to enforce it. When it comes to acquittals, you, the juror, have the very last word! * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict. * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury. * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors for your position when voting - just simply state you find the accused not guilty. * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion. We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for - PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:10 a.m.

Postema definitely has a personal agenda here IMHO. When Ann Arbor passed a voter approved Medical Marijuana ordinance his office stated that they wouldn't honor it and would follow state law. Since state law, again by the will of the voters fell on the side of legalization of Medical Marijuana, he now seems prepared to do whatever he can to find loopholes so he can prosecute and shut them down. If that isn't a personal agenda, I don't know what is. His actions speak louder than his words on this matter. He is engaging in a witch hunt. How many other legit businesses face this sort of scrutiny? Heck, not even the cathouses that used to operate (some for as long as 25 years) in this town ever faced that kind of scrutiny. What's up with that, Steve? Is there a way we can get this guy fired. We have actual violent crimes going on in this town and all he's worked up about is busting people for pot, even if it's legal both at local & state level.

Robert Granville

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

Ann arbor health collective is no longer on Stadium.... they were very near a school.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

It's interesting to see how the city and their attorney's pick and choose which state laws to uphold and which ones not to recognize. Take the state law regarding crosswalks and if a pedestrian is "approaching" a crosswalk as opposed to "within" the crosswalk. Now the city wants to be inconsistent with how they interpret the state law regarding medical marijuana.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

BTW, the Michigan Automated Prescription System captures every prescription thsat is filled, documenting the prescribing physicain, thre patient and the pharmacy that fills the prescription. So, medicinal marijuana people should quit screaming foul, the government is entiled to know how many joints you are smoking for your therapy.

Tom Joad

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

The medical marijuana statute in no way permits or allows for dispensary model of distribution. It's well known that caregivers are signing up patients to allow them to grow marijuana for them but the caregiver is only providing a paltry amount to the patient. I have two friends who were promised a meager 1/8th of an oz a month from their caregiver. Each plant yields at least 1 oz minimum of premium cannabis. The rest he pockets either selling directly to non-cardholders or to dispensaries where the dispensary can in turn sell it for $400 an oz. The City Attorneys for Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti should follow the ruling of the appeals court that has banned the dispensary model. Waiting for the Supreme Court to make a ruling places the two cities in legal jeopardy itself by not adhering to court decisions. The entire statute is contrary to federal law and cities should not be so quick to dole out lucrative licenses until the matter is settled.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:14 a.m.

Nothing like a little hearsay to clear up a debate. I have a friend of a friend of a friend who says something totally different.

wolfman jack

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Medicinal drugs ? Pharmacy.

Chad Williams

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Why have people vote just to turn back and find ways to make things difficult. If things arent being done legally lock them up. Those who are leave them alone. It seems like washtenaw county preys on criminal activity that is easy to solve. We have peoples homes that are no longer safe. Rapists that are free. Actually stop crime instead as a tax payer im paying for my home to be unsafe and my mother and sister left raped. Im paying for cops making a news article about a fist fight or some.guy running over ducks. Stop the real criminals, if it weren't for witnesses or snitches most major crime wouldn't be solved.

Joey Ismail

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Good, one mans personal agenda shouldn't trump the will of the voters. The people have spoken, regulate and keep on moving. There a a million and one real problems in this city, all of which are vastly more important than a harmless plant. There are more deadly drugs in a single medicine cabnet than all the marijuana on earth. It's time to let go of the reefer madness and just deal with reality. People have been using marijuana for a variety of reasons going on 5000 years not. It isn't going anywhere, and frankly, nor should it. It's not that harmful, it's grows everywhere, and it has a number of medical applications. The leading medical institute in Israel recently said the only real problem with marijuana is it's too hard to get and not being prescribed often enough. That says it right there.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Keith and Mark operate one of the most professional and compassionate collectives and serve the patients well. The city of Ann Arbor and the state of Michigan need more people like this that are involved with their community. We are behind OM of Medicine and all they are asking is to be treated fairly. Michigan needs to adapt legislation similar to Colorado, there will be JOBs created and an increase of tax revenues that can pay for schools, fireman and policeman.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

In other words: I like my dealer.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

What do "professional and compassionate" have to do with the rule of law?

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Dispensaries in downtown are wrong given the uptick in robberies and property crimes due to little or no police presence. In addition, many business owners don't like dispensary clients loitering and "smoking" on city streets. Just my two cents based on observations and interviews. Medical marijuana goes way beyond licensing, we need to protect and safeguard the people that want this service as well as the providers.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:17 a.m.

it ain't worth 2cents.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

He's comparing his store to an Apple store? Are you allowed to "test-drive and explore" the products in his store as well? Maybe work shops or a genius bar? Just asking.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Of course you're right on that point. But Lambert is also speaking hypothetically about marijuana being a medicine, avoiding the fact that it's used for far more questionable purposes. Apple Stores have ONLY products for one purpose: owning and operating their brand of computer products. There's no "mind altering" computers, although some criminals use them illicitly. So there's a security industry bent on preventing illegal use but (so far) no regulation of the kind applied to drugs. What Lambert talks about is a partial truth.

Gary Haller

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

if its a legal business you have the option of going into that business ror not if its illegal then arrest everybody I am just saying if it s going to be there just regulate it and move on

Gary Haller

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Marijuana legality is always going to be an issue that has supporters and detractors, In the 1960s the Hippies in ann Arbor were smoking it and through the 80s and 90s use went down and today with all the publcity from so called medical marijuana it is again in our conversation. when I was a kid we stood outside liquor stores and got random people to "BUY" for us . then while the Viet nam war was in full swing they dropped the drinking age to 18 for a time and all us 16 year olds were in the bar. I could go on how ever heres my point What ever the law is I believe the city attorney and everyone else concerned with medical marijuana on both sides have legitimate concerns. If you license a certain business practice if companies or corporations or individuals who apply meet the criteria you give a license to that business. Then once a year you have teh business open its books to see if the business is in compliance. This is whats done at the state level with certain businesses and it seems to work well.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Of course dispensaries are against the law. They take business away from caregivers who actually follow the law they overcharge for meds and most import marijuana from states with much more lax grow laws allowing for lower bulk prices. They should be closed down allowing for people who fblollow the law to compete.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

The State is currently drafting new regulations with respect to physicians and the distribution that is going on right now. Things are going to change people, Mr. Schuette is chomping at the bit to get at you. I for one say legalize it, regulate it and tax it like no tomorrow. Let the stoners fund state government.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Your choice of words ("stoners") is insulting, uneducated and archaic.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:24 a.m.

Yeah, and Bill Schuette has a BIG personal agenda with this and has vowed to destroy the medical marijuana operations in this state, regardless of what the majority of voters in this great state have said they want done. I guess he's the only one who really knows what's good for everybody and we all should stop voting and just ask his opinion and follow it religiously.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:22 a.m.

@ Tesla, yep, just look no further than Rush limbaugh for proof positive.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Exactly. I mean the "drunks" and "Pill Poppin Prescription Addiction" crowd has been doing their fair share for 65 years. I'm convinced. Everyone is high.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

There is absolutely NO benefit to society in keeping marijuana illegal. Quite the opposite. All the "benefit" of criminalization of sales/use accrues to vested interests. Period. Legalize the whole thing!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:27 a.m.

any casual research done on the subject would prove to ANY reasonable person that nhirzel is correct in his statement. That's NOT an extraordinary claim and the evidence is all over the place. Get off your duff and look into it objectively.

Don B. Arfkahk

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

Prove that it needs to be illegal. If I hit you in the face with a bat, to get let off by a judge, I have to prove it was justified - I don't have to make you prove it was unjustified.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

That's an extraordinary claim. Where is the extraordinary proof?


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Briere said: &quot;and if you are somebody who is actually ill,&quot; and that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? Now, I need to go find a Craigslist doctor to write me a 'script', so I'm legal. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> better hurry: THIS Monday ONLY!! GET CERTIFIED OR RENEWED FOR only $75 this is a 1 day special

N. Todd

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 5:43 a.m.

@KimS - Sorry for the late reply. If you don't believe that you can walk in to one of a number of chain pharmacies and see a PA or NP, and walk out with a filled prescription, please do a quick Google search. It happens and it's very common. So no; I don't obviously know the opposite. Thanks for assuming that though. The rest of the examples are different styles of marketing. Did you know that chain pharmacies will give you store credit if you transfer your prescriptions to them? They run that promotion frequently. Good thing that they aren't 'baiting' you to use their location to get your medications. Once again, what's the difference?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

@N.Todd: Yes, there is a difference between the A2 dispensaries, and the chain drug stores such as CVS, RA, and Wags. I think the differences are obvious, but I will answer your question. ~ I can't walk into the chain drug store, ask to see a doc behind the counter, get a script written on-the-spot, and walk out the door with my Rx drugs...biggest difference, and you obviously knew that. I also can't find a doc on Craigslist to write a script for any Rx drugs that any member of my family might need, and then take that to CVS. ~ The pharmacies at chain drug stores do not offer any free drug samples, BOGO on Rx, free t-shirts, free massages, free edibles, or any of the other multitude of marketing gimmicks created by dispensaries to get people to purchase their &quot;medicine&quot; from THEIR dispensary.

N. Todd

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

KimS - Other than the massages, do you see much of a difference between what you listed and what you would see at Walgreens, CVS, Riteaid, etc.? (Even the in-house clinics at many of them)


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

And that's the kind of stuff that ruins it for those that truly need relief. Also, it is my understanding (and please tell me if I am wrong) that the medicinal is &quot;purer&quot; (not sure if that is the correct term) than in the past, so the kids that it can trickle down to are getting something stronger than some of the junk from years past.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

EyeHeartA2: You don't need to bother with a doc from Craigslist. It appears most of the dispensaries have their own &quot;in house&quot; doc who can write your script, on the spot! Just peruse through some of their Facebook pages to find the &quot;doctor days&quot; or better yet, some of them even offer &quot;free&quot; massages on Wednesdays, with qualifying purchases, of course! Two-fer t-shirt...the list of specials goes on and on! ;)


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

&quot;huge health benefits&quot; -- putatively and even then for a small number of people. &quot;no negatives&quot; -- eh, what about the proven psychotropic effects and the fact that cannabinoids build up in the brain with repeated dosing? It's a proven fact that marijuana smoke affects non-users who're exposed to that smoke. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proofs: lets see the study which shows that marijuana users have the same performance records as non-users in academics and employment. There are valid tests to determine mental abilities, lets see the studies showing that habitual marijuana users have equal mental abilities compared to non-users. Certain kinds of people like to have their brains under the influence of mind altering chemicals: that's a fact. And because it is a fact, the legalization of any drug for mass consumption is an idea (and accommodation) for fools. The real question is the same as for alcohol: Why do a minority people &quot;insist&quot; on a non-existant right to mess with their brains? Creating a separate, parallel system to offer ONE prescription drug to those who have a medical need is also NOT a good idea: as can be seen right here in Accommodating Ann Arbor. Where are the economic studies which show that a dozen independent &quot;outlets&quot; for medical marijuana are needed here to supply a small number of patients with legitimate need? Public safety is currently at risk in Ann Arbor: so this ADDED risk of increasing the drug trade is actually increasing the burden on law enforcement here. Criminals are often drug users: are we to make it easier and more acceptable for them to &quot;enjoy&quot; themselves as they rape and rob? Seriously: keeping in mind that city government is regularly criticized for &quot;judgement issues&quot; -- those who say City Attorney Postema &quot;should just smoke a joint and chill the hell out&quot; are showing us their TRUE ability and intentions.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:05 a.m.

why don't we just give total control of this over to the big pharmaceutical companies. Then all of your concerns over how it is dispensed will be solved and they can make enormous profits off of it, being that they would be permitted to be the sole distributors of it. The whole point of this system is to not let that happen. your arguments, in my opinion are flawed. And I don't know where you get this idea that marijuana smokers are &quot;criminals&quot;. Criminals often smoke cigarettes. Criminals often drive cars, use alcohol... Your prejudice is showing big time. As the article shows, you have dispensaries here in Ann Arbor that look nothing like the picture you are painting, yet you are proselytizing as if every one of them was a den of criminals just waiting to smoke a joint and rob a bank or rape your daughters. This just isn't true. Many of the people involved in this believe in what they do and are upstanding citizens and are nothing like the erroneous picture you are attempting to paint. Your accusations border on ludicrous. Get educated and put your prejudice to rest.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:53 a.m.

hmmmmm... you make these accusations and call it fact. Where is your information from. Because studies that have been done show that public safety is not at risk. This is just your bias showing. And your first accusations reek of bull puckey. As far as performance? Well look for yourself: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and you might read up on the subject before coming up with wild accusations not founded in fact. &quot;One case-control study by Dr. Movig and his team in the Netherlands found an OR (odds ratio--remember; risk multiplier) of 1.2--no statistically meaningful association--between smoking cannabis and crashing, even when they did not control for use of other drugs. In fact, a preliminary analysis by the same group that did control for other drugs initially generated an OR of 0.3, indicating that cannabis use actually decreased crash risk&quot; Movig KL, Mathijssen MP, Nagel PH, et al. &quot;Psychoactive Substance Use and the Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents&quot;. Accid Anal Prev. 2004;36:631-6 Mathijssen MP, Movig KL, De Gier JJ, et al. &quot;Use of Psychoactive Medicines and Drugs as a Cause of Road Trauma&quot;. In: 16th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety T2002 2002 Montreal, Canada. 2002;451-8. The facts are all out there, I guess it's just which ones do we want to cherry pick to support our own bias. I believe it should be legal, period. You seem bent upon exaggerating both the risk and the consequences of imaginary increase of &quot;drug trade&quot; and increasing the burden on law officials. What increased burden? We already have a law in place since 1971 that treats it like a ordinance violation. Unlike the alcohol problem what with violent drunks acting stupid and getting people killed and starting fights. That doesn't happen with marijuana. period.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

We've had presidents who partook--unless you are willing to actually believe they never inhaled. Look around you and ask yourself if you really believe that all the baby boomers approaching retirement driving Lexus', Mercedes' and running companies never took a toke on a joint in their lives. Look back to the 60s and 70s and ask yourself that question again. You ask for a study that doesn't need to be done. You assume that the only people who have smoked marijuana are the classically stereotypical potheads when they may very well be the people who run the company or entity that employs you. You are right--extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. There remains no proof that marijuana causes harm or is addictive--only assertions from those who benefit from a continued anti-drug policy such as NIDA (they'd be out of business absent anti-marijuana laws): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The claim that this herb is the scourge society remains an extraordinary one when contrasted against the common vices we routinely accept and even encourage. Time and again, the criminal element is often a creation of the prohibition that spawns the blackmarket demand.

Joey Ismail

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

I'm just not seeing the hysteria, sorry. Advil kills over a 1000 people a year. Tylonal kills about that many and destroys the liver of thousands more. Lets not even start discussing alcohol or prescription drugs. Marijuana gives people the giggles and makes them eat, ohhh scary. It's just ridiculous to act like this is some dangerous drug. If people want to smoke big deal. Some people cant control their drinking, that doesn't mean you bring back prohibition. And more importantly than any of that, the people own this country. If they are tired of wasting money fighting a freaking harmless plant, well that's that.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

alan: I agree- we need facts to make proper decisions. That also implicitly raises the question of &quot;worth&quot; for each side. Is it worth having the &quot;results&quot; from easy access to mind altering chemicals? Is it worth having our existing law enforcement infrastructure tasked with regulating such access? My objections today have more to do with the &quot;pro-marijuana&quot; arguments (mostly assumptions) posed here. Primarily, I object to the notion that there has to be a new class of businesses to deal with what's obviously an already solved problem. There's massive regulation of drug companies and the pharmacy business - no one thinks that's &quot;too expensive.&quot; (It's only the massive profits of some drug companies which are at issue.)


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

While I think you make some very valid points, I do suspect that the economic cost of enforcement is, in fact, much greater than the economic cost of legalization. I'm sure that a lot of studies have been done, many biased in one direction or the other, but it's probably worth a look, at least from an economic perspective.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

alan: thanks for supporting some of my statements. I can only suggest that the economic argument is also false: if law enforcement is &quot;too expensive&quot; than the &quot;logical&quot; argument is to eliminate all law enforcement efforts because there are &quot;always&quot; criminals committing crime IN SPITE OF law enforcement activities. THEY also argue that it's &quot;necessary&quot; to have a parallel drug prescription program in addition to the (expensive) one already in place. What economic &quot;genius&quot; thought that one up? This notion is just accommodation and enabling errant behaviors, nothing more. The nettles in our mattress are there because of the &quot;insistence&quot; of a minority on having access to and use of mind altering substances. It takes time and careful thinking to properly regulate such things. We have successfully regulated tobacco smoking and firearms: the same can be done with marijuana. So I believe.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Certainly some good points. I think that the argument that if alcohol is legal then marijuana should be is, as you point out, flawed. The problem is in the cost to enforce laws prohibiting behavior. Alcohol costs enormous sums in lost productivity, medical care, etc. But the costs of enforcement, in regulatory costs, criminal behavior, etc, appear to outweigh the costs of making it legal. I suspect that is the point being made.

Local Lady

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

The root cause of the problem remains the federal law. Prohibition of alcohol was so &quot;successful&quot; . Then we tried to prohibit MJ. Also &quot;successful&quot;. Both a waste of my taxpayer dollars and a boon to criminal elements. We need to change the federal law to allow states to determine what they want to do about MJ. Get out of my backyard - mister federal authorities.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:53 p.m. should just repost the comment thread from each and every marijuana dispensary article that they have written. Nothing changes in the discussion and it would save all of the people, from both sides of the argument, a lot of time and frustration.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

When you've been lied to for 80 years about the &quot;dangers&quot; of marijuana and people are sentenced to long jail terms for possession of a simple plant it leads to disrespect for all laws. When confronted with lies and hypocrisy, young people rebel aganst authority and find their own truths based on their own experiences, not the lies and threats of control hungry legal authorities.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Postema is on a personal crusade. He does not represent the interests of or reflect the will of the majority of Ann Arbor residents and taxpayers in relation to a state law that was passed by a resounding majority, 74% of the voters statewide. Get out of the public sector, Mr Postema. This has become far too personal of an issue for you.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Postema isn't running for judge because he says his foot hurts. He should get a certification and chill out. Seriously, Postema should resign and the City Attorney's office privatized. His days as Roger Fraser and Hieftje's personal attorney, as opposed to serving the interests of all residents ar numbered. He really needs to get a sense of who he serves here on earth and not let his personal beliefs get in the way of his job. The City Attorney has no business conducting a witch hunt of legal tax paying businesses because he disagrees with what they are selling.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

It's always easier to regulate something that's legal than to ban something outright as illegal. The costs of enforcement escalate incredibly when you attempt to stamp out something and little happens but to create a criminal underclass perpetually engaged in profiting from the contraband. When the state elects to ban something, it needs to weigh the cost of the ban against the cost of not banning. There's a real harm when economic resources are redirected away from other areas that truly require attention. However, if the item banned is deadly or causes great physical or other harm, it may be worth it. How do we strike this balance and weigh costs? It's not novel; we have quite a case study in this nation's history of Prohibition. We learned that balance was wanting. We created &quot;drug&quot; cartels in the form of Al Capone and organized crime. The crime stakes were high and the money flowed. People went to the black market and purchased deadly and tainted &quot;bathtub&quot; gin consisting largely of methanol or other toxics. Otherwise law-abiding citizens found themselves on the other side of the law for imbibing at speakeasies, raided and shut with teams of officers while other crimes in back alleys and ghettos soared. Tax dollars collected since the time of the Whiskey Rebellion dried up putting a strain on government coffers. There are good reasons to ban drugs like heroin that are extremely addictive and offer nothing socially or medically. However, untainted and regular marijuana has never been found to be addictive. I find it puzzling that we have no problems with physicians freely scripting highly-addictive oxycontin, vycodin, codeine, morphine, etc all in the name of pain relief but not one of them can write a prescription at law for an herb. We can buy cigarettes over the counter and all the Captain Morgan we want but--for no good social or public health reasons--we ban the herb.

Joey Ismail

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Couldn't agree more. I really don't see too sides to this argument.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Well said Thank you.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

I just want to add that I don't find it puzzling why there are many who will fight legalization of the herb tooth and nail. I'm sure there are a few who are zealous because they are convinced this is the cause national decay, but I believe the number of steadfast zealots are relatively few and don't have the political clout to drive opposition. I believe in following the money. I believe most opponents are driven by their own economics. There are 3 drug cartels today. We have the criminal syndicates whose benefit from contraband is obvious but who don't wield much in the way of political power. We also have the cartel of anti-drug enforcement agencies and the enforcement industry that supplies them with weapons, equipment, training, etc. All that would pretty much shrink into oblivion in the same manner as the Prohibition enforcement industry did should the one, single, most popular illegal &quot;narcotic&quot; be legalized. They certainly have political clout. And, finally, there is the pharmaceutical company cartel. They would ban aspirin if they could so everything can be replaced with their high-priced mood-management and addictive pain drugs. None of those companies seek cures any longer--they look for &quot;management&quot; drugs and try to sell us on the idea that we need to medicate ourselves with their &quot;legitimate&quot; products each and every day of our lives. One of the reasons health care has skyrocketed is the cost of drugs and their ubiquity in the practice of medicine. If you profit from making and selling oxycontin, why on earth would you want to compete with an herb that anyone could grow?

Mr. Me

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

This is an unacceptable burden to place on city government and small business. If state and federal authorities think it's such a good idea to harass these shopowners, they should send their own police and spend their own budgets. It's a lot easier to be &quot;tough on drugs&quot; when the hours come out of someone else's property taxes! I would hate to see the legitimate needs of very sick people used as a cover to turn &quot;medical&quot; marijuana into grey market drug dealing, but the city government should not be expending more resources on these stores than it does on e.g. pharmacies or liquor stores.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

I'm not going to go into the health benefits of medical marijuana (or Marihuana as it's actually written in the ordinances). But let's get real on one very relevant issue: the cost to police the dispensaries. Now, don't get me wrong. There are plenty of people selling medical marijuana that aren't really legit. Yet on that same side, there are a number of dispensaries in the city that are acting within the confines of the law. Public safety is currently at risk in our city. We have a serial rapist who hasn't been caught, a rash of robberies downtown (granted, usually after midnight), and wasn't there just an article about the increased number of residential break-ins (the number 80 stands out, up from 49 last year)? It seems to be the focus of Postema should be more concerned about fighting crime rather than nitpicking businesses operating legally and bringing revenue to a hurting city. Or maybe he should just smoke a joint and chill the hell out.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

Here we go again... All this article is going to do is bring out comments by both (uninformed) sides for and against the policy without reading the article, which for once, is very detailed and clear...i.e. too long for most readers.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Not too long, just a bit involved for the uninitiated. Fond it informative. As of this writing, its the first time I've been able to read the comments of an article and truly appreciate the opinions. Thoughtful, not reactive. I agree, most comment without reading/understanding. Peace.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

Beyond the confusion of what is legal and what isn't is the larger question: Why are so many of our young people afflicted with such serious pain they are forced to seek relief from marijuana?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:12 a.m.

for the same reasons that many of our young people are being fed anti-depressants and mood management drugs by the pharmaceutical companies for huge profits, I guess.

Joey Ismail

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

I hear ya but it really doesn't matter too much. Teens have been smoking weed for, well, ever. Nothing is going to change that. Anyway there are real problems in high school we need to be focusing on. Cigs, alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse are the real problems. Those actually kill kids every single day. Worrying about a little weed just seems silly. It's relatively harmless.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Lol, I didn't mean shown on the food channel, I meant for example, the food channel has shows like 'Follow that Food'. But I imagine there certainly could be a baking show on the food channel ;)

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

LOL the food channel LOL


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

I am not against medical marijuana,but I have to agree with smokeblwr, just from personal knowledge. I think it would be interesting to see a documentary on the travel of SOME medical marijuana (like on the food channel) and how it ends up in high schools.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Why is it assumed that these are &quot;young&quot; people?

Jeff Brown

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

It's too bad the prosecutor and police are not as committed to catching the serial rapist as they are in this Matt matter. We would all be much safer if they did, which is the point of police - public safety.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Please cite your sources that indicate the city has consumed more resources on this than in catching the serial rapist. I doubt you can. Reminds me of similar comments that were common in the years following 9/11 where people complained that rather than citing someone for running a red light the police should be catching terrorists. The underlying premise that the police should only be expending effort on the worst crimes and ignoring lesser crimes is problematic and not the basis for a good, fair, or safe community. Now that is a separate issue as to whether this particular issue should be a concern of the police or prosecutors. If you want to argue that, please do so directly.

G. Orwell

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Legalize marijuana. Huge health benefits and really no negatives. Keeping it illegal is killing thousands of people and costing this country hundreds of billions. The war on drugs is an absolute failure. It was never meant to work. I can't believe people are going to jail for smoking marijuana. What is the difference compared to hard liquor? Other than marijuana cures many illnesses

G. Orwell

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

@Joe Kidd Don't put too much faith in the establishments like the CDC and FDA. As you can see, the health of this country has gone down hill for a very long time thanks to these organizations. They are nothing more than marketing arms of Monsanto and Big Pharma. They will push dangerous GMOs and pharmaceuticals while doing everything to minimize or discredit the use of natural remedies since Big Pharma caanot make any money off natural remedies. Don't let them fool you by their, so called, status as our protectors or watch dogs.

Joe Kidd

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

Not sure what Brown University thinks but huge health benefits? No <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

G. Orwell

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

@homeland Illegal drug trade has killed thousands of people in the US, Mexico and other nations. Gangs fight over their turf and even governments invade nations to control the drug trade. Why do you think Afghanistan now exports over 90% of the world's opium. How many people have died in Afghanistan alone? Who controls Afghanistan?

G. Orwell

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

Google &quot;marijuana cures cancer.&quot; Numerous studies and experiments clearly show that cannabinoids in marijuana activates cells in our body that kill cancer cells. Even confirmed by Brown University. Research it yourself. Also Google 10 health benefits of marijuana. Please do your research before you criticize others. Don't assume you know everything.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

So lets put it to a vote.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

dare i suggest that &quot;g.orwell's&quot; oft repeated shills for ron paul center on this issue ( the one on which Paul probably gets his most traction...since he is a complete airhead ( lit. as in from &quot;outer space&quot; ) on everything else.. What a wonderful republican 'base&quot;: religious fanatics and stoners!!

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

I'm all for MM but &quot;killing thousands of people&quot; but come on...if your going to make this kind of statement then back it up with some proof. MM doesn't heal anything it just helps deal with the pain &amp; related problems...but I have never heard of it healing the sick.