Ann Arbor Sets Medical Marijuana App Fees

At its Aug. 15, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council voted to establish an application fee of $600 for licenses to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the city. The fee covers a total of approximately nine hours of work by staff in the city clerk’s office, police department, planning department, and the attorney’s office.

The licenses for which businesses may apply were established by a city ordinance given its final approval at the council’s June 20, 2011 meeting. The ordinance distinguishes between an “application fee” and a “license fee.” The license fee, according to the city’s ordinance, is to be reviewed by a licensing board, which members are to be appointed by the mayor.

The five-member body is to consist of one member of the city council, one physician, and three other Ann Arbor residents. Nominations to the licensing board were also made at the Aug. 15 meeting: Patricia O’Rorke, James Kenyon and John McKenna Rosevear. Sabra Briere was nominated as the city council representative. Still needed is a physician to serve on the board.

The ordinance becomes effective Aug. 24, which is 60 days after its date of legal publication, on June 23. Applicants who were already in business before the city council enacted its Aug. 5, 2010 moratorium have 60 days after the effective date to apply for a license.

The city’s communications to this point with prospective applicants has not been perfectly smooth. A letter sent out by Wendy Rampson, head of planning for the city, was met with objections because of the city’s insistence that “proof” be provided that a business was in operation before Aug. 5, 2010 – beyond an affidavit attesting to that effect. The city’s ordinance appears to empower the licensing board, not staff in the city attorney’s office or the planning department, with evaluating the merits of license applications.

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]