Ann Arbor Pauses Medical Pot Again

At its June 6, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved amendments to a proposed medical marijuana licensing program that were substantial enough that the program will require a second reading and approval before the council, together with a public hearing. The zoning ordinance, to which the council had previously given its initial approval, was also considered on June 6, but was postponed. That would allow the second and final approvals of both licensing and zoning ordinances to be enacted at the same meeting, on June 20.

Among the amendments to the licensing program was one that reduced a records retention requirement from one year to 30 days.

The medical marijuana zoning ordinance received its initial approval by the council at its Oct. 18, 2010 meeting. The delay since the initial Oct. 18, 2010 zoning vote stems from the city of Ann Arbor’s strategy in legislating zoning and licensing of medical marijuana businesses – that strategy has been to bring both licensing and zoning before the city council at the same time for a final vote.

The context for developing zoning regulations was set at the council’s Aug. 5, 2010 meeting, when councilmembers voted to impose a moratorium on the use of property in the city for medical marijuana dispensaries or cultivation facilities. The council also directed the city’s planning commission to develop zoning regulations for medical marijuana businesses.

Subsequently, the city attorney’s office began working on a licensing system. The council undertook several amendments to the licensing proposal at four of its meetings over the last three months: on Jan. 3Feb. 7,  March 7 and March 21. The council finally gave its first initial approval to the licensing proposal at its March 21 meeting.

At its May 2 meeting, the most significant amendment to the licensing proposal was to eliminate cultivation facilities from licensing requirements. [.pdf of Michigan Medical Marijuana Act]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]