Ann Arbor Tables Medical Marijuana Question

The Ann Arbor city council has tabled a resolution that would change its medical marijuana licensing ordinance. The  tabling, which is unlike a postponement to a date certain, leaves open the possibility that the council might not ever take the question up off the table. If the council fails to take the question up within six months, the item demises. However, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) indicated she intended to take it up off the table before the six months are up. The tabling took place at the council’s Oct. 1, 2012 meeting.

The ordinance amendments in question were recommended by the city’s medical marijuana licensing board at the start of the year. 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 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]

The licenses that the board recommended be granted to 10 dispensaries citywide – recommendations also made at the board’s Jan. 31, 2012 meeting – have not yet come before the city council for final action. The proposed ordinance revisions, recommended by the city’s medical marijuana licensing board at its Jan. 31 meeting, had already been considered and postponed once before, at the council’s April 2, 2012 meeting. When the item came back on June 18, 2012, it was postponed, again until Oct. 1.

The general background of the current medical marijuana climate includes enactment of  two kinds of regulations for medical marijuana businesses last year, at the city council’s June 20, 2011 meeting. One piece of legislation established the zoning laws that apply to such businesses – establishing where medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities could be located. The other piece of legislation established a process for granting licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries. Cultivation facilities are not required to be licensed.

In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries in Ann Arbor continue to dispense marijuana to patients.

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]