ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor is temporarily hitting the pause button on new medical marijuana dispensaries after more than 30 recently applied for approval to operate in the city.
The City Council voted 11-0 Monday night, April 16, to impose a 60-day moratorium on issuance of new permits, with the exception of dispensaries whose applications for zoning approval already have been accepted and are under consideration.
Though Ann Arbor decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s, is home to the long-running Hash Bash celebration and is considered by some the cannabis capital of the Midwest, city officials say the large number of dispensaries looking to set up shop here warrants taking some time to step back and consider adjustments to the city’s regulations.
The city’s new regulations for marijuana businesses took effect Feb. 12 and the city has seen more than 30 dispensary applications, some from existing dispensaries seeking to become official under the new laws and some new ones looking to set up shop.
The city’s Planning Commission is tasked with considering them on a case-by-case basis as special-exception uses, meaning they require special zoning approval.
The council on Monday night directed the city’s staff to prepare ordinance changes by May 7 to limit the number of dispensary permits available in the city to the number of approvable zoning applications already accepted for consideration by the city.
Of the 30-plus applications submitted in recent months, the city’s staff said six were turned away because they were within 600 feet of other dispensaries, which isn’t allowed under the city’s regulations.
The council voted 10-1 Monday night to direct city planning officials to also evaluate increasing the minimum distance required between dispensaries to 1,000 feet, along with any other changes to limit concentrations