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Mayoral Candidate Briere: Donations And Comportment Trigger Questions


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Sabra Briere: Campaigning as “works with everyone”: Has the endorsement of no current Council members. Four current Council members have endorsed against her.


POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: Marijuana entrepreneurs gave over 15 percent of her total donations. Marijuana dispensary operating permits distributed by city


oversight committee on which Briere sits prior to several large donations by marijuana entrepreneurs who received permits. Briere is not employed by U-M and neither is her




PLEASE NOTE: The following comes from a trio of articles published in The Ann Arbor Independent.


IN HER 2013 City Council race, almost half of Ward 1 Council member Sabra Briere’s 2013 campaign funds came from money donated by the owners of medical marijuana


dispensaries. The owner of a local dispensary held a fundraiser for Briere that was attended by dispensary owners from across metro-Detroit. She accepted campaign donations in


amounts ranging from $50 to $500 from dispensary owners in Redford, Ferndale, Macomb, Canton and New Buffalo, Michigan.


The sale of marijuana is illegal according to federal law. Michigan’s Marijuana Law, clarified by the Michigan Supreme Court in a February 2013 decision, prohibits dispensaries and restricts sales of the drug, as well. Local marijuana entrepreneurs hope a City Council member will introduce an ordinance to protect their businesses in the city.


Ward 4 Council member Jack Eaton, a labor lawyer, turned down a proffered donation from a local dispensary owner during the August 2013 Democratic primary election. “That’s drug money and drugs are illegal,” said Eaton.


Most banks remain leery of accepting deposits from marijuana dispensaries for fear that such banks could lose their charters, attract unwanted attention from regulators or even risk prosecution.


Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. recently told the media that lawful marijuana businesses should have access to the American banking system and that the government would soon offer rules to help them gain it. The rules are not expected to give banks a green light to accept deposits and provide other services, but would tell prosecutors not to prioritize cases involving legal marijuana businesses that use banks.


In June 2011, City Council passed a resolution that outlined where medical marijuana businesses could be located. In September 2011, Council members voted a 10-0 vote to appoint four individuals, including one Council member, to the city’s new Ann Arbor Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.


Ward 1 Council member Sabra Briere.

One month later, Briere accepted a $500 campaign donation from Mark Passerini, a University of Michigan graduate and co-founder of the OM of Medicine (medical marijuana) dispensary on Main Street. Passerini’s was one of the largest legal donations she received in 2011.



Edited by bobandtorey
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