ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor’s move to further limit medical marijuana dispensaries is striking a nerve with a prominent local cannabis activist who calls the city’s new regulations foolish.
“To place an arbitrary number on the amount of dispensaries that will be allowed, or a distance requirement between them, is pure reefer madness,” Chuck Ream, a retired kindergarten teacher and longtime cannabis user and activist, told City Council members Monday night, May 21, as new regulations were approved.
“Ann Arbor should be the first city to set aside a cannabis business district, which would be vibrant and popular,” he said. “We can’t have caps on dispensaries and mandatory distances between dispensaries in Ann Arbor. It makes it look like there is something bad about cannabis, which Ann Arbor voters absolutely do not believe.”
The City Council voted without discussion Monday night to cap the number of dispensaries allowed in the city at 28.
The ordinance changes were approved on a voice vote, so no roll-call vote was recorded, but Council Members Jack Eaton and Anne Bannister voted no.
The council previously approved rules stipulating dispensaries must be spaced at least 600 feet apart to avoid too many of them.
The city is now considering increasing the distance requirement to 1,000 feet, which would further limit the industry.
There’s been a large wave of dispensaries applying for permits to operate in Ann Arbor now that new regulations for them have taken effect. City officials want to take a step back and see how things go before approving more than 28.
The 28-dispensary cap could be lifted at some point in the future, said Council Member Zachary Ackerman, who is in favor of the limits at least for now as a temporary measure.
Ream, who previously operated the MedMar marijuana dispensary at 1818 Packard St., said