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Ypsilanti: Moratorium On Medical Marijuana Facilities Before Council Again

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YPSILANTI — After delaying its initial decision, the Ypsilanti City Council will revisit an emergency ordinance to place a 60-day moratorium on permits and licenses for medical marijuana facilities at Tuesday night's meeting.

City attorney John Barr recommended an emergency ordinance after the idea of a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities was proposed in March by Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson and Councilmember Ricky Jefferson. The two cited over-saturation of medical marijuana facilities in the city as the reason for the moratorium, and said that they had received complaints from residents.

There are currently six medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, with one pending license, and there is one operating marijuana growing facility with two more pending licenses. Under the zoning ordinance, there is a possibility for three more dispensaries and two more growing facilities within the city.

http://heritage.com/articles/2013/05/22/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc519d0b8d1b4e2108635305.txt?viewmode=fullstory">more information on delayed decision, previous coverage:http://heritage.com/articles/2013/05/22/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc519d0b8d1b4e2108635305.txt

The majority of the facilities are in Wards 1 and 3. Distribution is as follows:

Ward 1 - two dispensaries, one potential dispensary, one grow facility and one potential grow facility

Ward 2 - one dispensary

Ward 3 - three dispensaries and one potential grow facility

Barr suggested a 60-day emergency moratorium during which city staff would evaluate the number of permits and licenses the city has already issued, or is in the process of issuing, before deciding how many more to allow within city limits.

The city also wanted to temporarily halt the issuance of permits and licenses until the state clears up some of the ambiguity surrounding the legality and proposed decriminalization of medical marijuana.

In the resolution, the ordinance was declared to be an emergency ordinance necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety and welfare of the city.

Council voted 4-3 to table the ordinance at its May 21 meeting after much deliberation and after many community members spoke out both in favor of and in opposition to the moratorium.

Jamie Lowell of 3rd Coast Compassion Center, a medical marijuana dispensary at 19 N. Hamilton St., addressed council at the meeting, stating that he thinks it's perfectly reasonable to consider putting a cap on the number of medical marijuana facilities in the city, but does not agree with the proposed ordinance.

"To have an emergency moratorium to discuss this issue is inappropriate. Have this discussion but please don't pass anything that would reflect that there is a public health and safety issue, because there is none," he said.

Ypsilanti resident and pastor Harry Grayson, of Messias Temple Church at 200 Harriet St., supported the moratorium.

"The saturation level is higher in Ypsilanti than it is in other communities," he said. "It's not emotional or personal, it's just about the saturation."

The motion to table the decision came after Councilmember Pete Murdock proposed a resolution to cap the number of medical marijuana permits in the city in lieu of an emergency ordinance. The delayed voting on the issue until they could be counseled on the legality of such a resolution.

City council will revisit the discussion at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday night. A presentation by Ypsilanti resident and medical marijuana supporter John Evans on the "History/Synopsis of Medical Marijuana" will be heard by council before the resolution goes to a vote.

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