At its Jan. 31, 2012 meeting, Ann Arbor’s medical marijuana licensing board voted to recommend awarding 10 licenses for dispensaries – the same number that had submitted applications. Two of the license awards were recommended conditionally. Treecity Health Collective (1712 S. State St.) would need to move to a differently zoned district, and Greenbee Collective (401 S. Maple St.) would need to provide for adequate parking. The board also settled on some recommended changes to the city’s medical marijuana licensing ordinance.
Ann Arbor medical marijuana licensing board at its Jan. 31, 2012 meeting. Left to right: Sabra Briere, Jim Kenyon, Patricia O’Rorke, John Rosevear and Gene Ragland. (Photos by the writer.)
Both issues – the award of the licenses and the changes to the ordinance – will be up to the city council to decide. The licensing board’s recommendation and report had been due to the city council by Jan. 31, according to the council resolution passed in conjunction with last year’s enactment of the licensing ordinance. But at the city council’s Jan. 23, 2012 meeting, Ward 1 representative Sabra Briere gave her colleagues a heads up that the medical marijuana licensing board would be submitting its recommendations in early February instead.
The legislation enacted by the council on June 20, 2011 included provisions for licenses and zoning requirements. The zoning requirements played a role in the recommendation to award one of the 10 licenses conditionally. Treecity is located in a district zoned for office use, which does not permit medical marijuana dispensaries.
On Jan. 25, 2012, the city’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA) turned down Treecity’s appeal of the city’s decision to deny Treecity’s application for a zoning compliance permit – a necessary component of a license application. At the same meeting, the ZBA granted the same kind of appeal to another dispensary – Green Planet (700 Tappan St.).
The tension between the board’s work and the city attorney’s office is reflected in the fact that even as the board recommended the conditional award of a license to Treecity, the city attorney has served a lawsuit against the dispensary.
The tension was also reflected during the meeting itself, as assistant city attorney Kristen Larcom reminded the board that their purview, according to the city’s ordinance, is [emphasis Larcom's] to “send to City Council a proposed resolution recommending either approval or rejection of each complete license application.”
In the city’s view, Treecity’s application is not complete, because the city has denied a zoning compliance permit to the dispensary. However the board appeared to rely on the subsequent sentence of the ordinance: “A recommended resolution may set conditions for approval.”
Also at its Jan. 31 meeting, the licensing board recommended that the initial licensing fee be established at $1,100 with the annual renewal fee set at $350. [Full Story]