Ann Arbor Putting Pause on MMFLA Marijuana Permits
Recently the city of Ann Arbor, MI placed a temporary moratorium on new marijuana dispensaries seeking approval to open their doors. On Monday, April 16, The City Council voted 11-0 to impose a 2-month moratorium on new permits, excluding dispensaries with zoning approval that have begun construction.
Of the over 30 applications submitted to the city of Ann Arbor, several have been denied because of their close proximity to the dispensaries, the current minimum of 600 ft is being evaluated and may increase to 1,000 ft. Both are signs that the city is pausing to reflect on set standards before moving forward with granting permits to dispensaries. Meeting minutes from April 2 also show the public’s concern over the possibility of increased traffic resulting in a lack of parking, proximity to residential neighborhoods, possible trash and efforts to maintain cleanliness.
Public opinion matters to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission who denied a proposal for a dispensary in the Burns Park neighborhood, as mlive.com reported on April 4. Residents had concerns about the proximity of the location to an elementary school and cultural center used for children’s programming as well as the infrastructure ability to handle high traffic. The commission approved two other dispensaries that night which had been operating for several years which were looking to come into compliance with the city’s new regulations.
With the deadline of May 7 looming, what changes will come to Ann Arbor ordinances? Minimum distances between Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) facilities could go up to 1,000 feet, or just over 3 city blocks, restricting the number of business on a given street. The purpose of the moratorium is to consider a limit on the number of medical marijuana provisioning centers and other MMFLA facilities that the city will allow. Addressing larger concerns on the long-term effects of these businesses and the overall proximity to one another.
Dispensaries have been operating in Michigan for several years now under LARA’s Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) and MMFLA without any major issues. Now with the larger challenge of creating systems for medical marijuana the state, and the city of Ann Arbor, are experiencing growing pains. It will be up to dispensary owners to stay current on ordinances and active in community meetings. There is the added responsibility of meeting the upcoming deadline to be licensed as the state has already begun enforcement as we reported in our last blog.
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