Delay on Local Marijuana Pending State Action

At its June 18, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council again delayed a vote on revisions to its medical marijuana licensing ordinance – which it enacted a year ago on June 20, 2011. The postponement is until Oct. 1.

The proposed ordinance revisions, recommended by the city’s medical marijuana licensing board at its Jan. 31, 2012 meeting, had already been considered and postponed once before, at the council’s April 2, 2012 meeting. The licenses that the board recommended be granted to 10 dispensaries citywide – recommendations also made at the board’s Jan. 31 meeting – have not yet come before the city council for final action.

The board-recommended revisions to the medical marijuana licensing ordinance are laid out in detail in The Chronicle’s coverage of the medical marijuana licensing board’s Jan. 31, 2012 meeting. [.pdf of recommended licensing ordinance revisions] Representative of the revisions is a change that strikes the role of city staff in evaluating the completeness of a license application. The following phrase, for example, would be struck: “Following official confirmation by staff that the applicant has submitted a complete application …” The changes also establish a cap of 20 licenses, and grant the city council the ability to waive certain requirements.

The move to postpone the medical marijuana ordinance revisions came at the start of deliberations, and was made by Sabra Briere (Ward 1), who serves as the city council’s representative to the medical marijuana licensing board. In arguing for postponement, she cited pending state legislation for regulating medical marijuana that could result in a need to further amend the city’s ordinance. Pending legislation includes House Bill 5681 (which would amend the public health code and create a “pharmaceutical-grade cannabis program”) and House Bill 5580 (which would give local authorities the option to allow dispensaries and testing facilities).

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]