|Photo: World News|
The city of Ypsilanti, Michigan will consider medical marijuana dispensary licenses on a first-come, first-served basis, despite concerns from some members that it will result in applicants camping out at City Hall to be the first in line.
The Ypsilanti City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the ordinance establishing the licensing process, reports Tom Perkins at AnnArbor.com. The procedure through which the city would handle receiving dispensary applications had been the last major sticking point in the ordinance.
The council approved the ordinance as a resolution, which waives the 30-day posting period and means the ordinance takes effect on Tuesday, February 22. That cuts the time new dispensaries will have to wait to submit an application by 30 days.
At least one applicant said he planned to camp out in front of City Hall all day, if necessary. Adam Tasselmyer, who plans to open the Herbal Solutions dispensary at 124 West Michigan Avenue, said he has already invested $40,000 in his store, and he’s been “working closely” with city staff to ensure he’s complying with ordinances and guidelines.
“I’ve done everything right to set up my business here,” Tasselmyer said.
Tasselmyer said he’s willing to have his dispensary’s eight employees rotate in and out of line for 24-hour periods as soon as he gets the OK from the city to begin waiting, which is expected to happen early next week.
Responding to concerns some had about applicants camping out to be the first in line, City Attorney John Barr cautioned against using any standard other than first-come, first-served to weigh applications. Any other standard leaves some discretion to city employees, Barr said, which could lead to accusations of nepotism.
“What the staff has done is say ‘We’ll use time as the issue — if you get here first, then you get the prize,’ and that’s a very clear standard,” Barr said.
Council member Dan Vogt at first raised concerns that competition for the first spot in line could possibly lead to violence. But Vogt eventually voted for the ordinance without any changes.
“I’m not persuaded there is a criteria that would work any better,” Vogt said. “Those of you who would want to be in line better get in line tonight, and be able to prove you have been in line continuously for the next 75 days. Good luck!”
The city’s sole current dispensary, 3rd Coast Compassion Center, will have 30 days from Tuesday to submit an application uncontested. A 15-day waiting period will follow, in case the application is denied. Once that appeal period expires, new applicants can apply. Applicants must meet criteria established by the city to get a license.
Dispensaries aren’t allowed to be closer than 500 feet of each other, so submitting an application first is very important.
Only two dispensaries will be allowed in downtown Ypsilanti. Because 3rd Coast Compassion is already open at the corner of Hamilton and Pearl streets, that leaves room for just one more facility downtown.
Currently, there are only two “serious applicants” competing for the one available license downtown, according to City Planner Teresa Gillotti.
There are no rules or guidelines for how to deal with a line of applicants should one form at City Hall, but Gillotti said the city is “exploring the issue.”