These days, most cities with medical marijuana laws are issuing a moratorium on new pot operations, suspending dispensary licensing programs or backtracking on MMJ plans in general.
Officials in Ann Arbor, Mich., however, are bucking the trend. Scratch that: they’re trying to buck the trend. The city says it still hopes to move forward with a plan to license dispensaries despite turmoil in Michigan’s medical marijuana industry and a larger crackdown by the federal government in other states.
Ann Arbor implemented a moratorium on new dispensaries last year in an effort to devise a strategy to more closely regulate the industry. Officials decided to require medical marijuana centers – those currently in operation as well as any new dispensaries – to obtain licenses from the city, a law that went into effect in June.
But the landscape has changed drastically since that time, with a state court ruling decimating the medical marijuana industry and triggering the closure of hundreds of marijuana dispensaries in Michigan.
Ann Arbor’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Board has received nearly a dozen applications but has yet to award a license given the turmoil and uncertainty over MMJ laws in the state. While other Michigan cities have put their medical marijuana plans on ice, Ann Arbor officials say they actually want to continue the licensing process but need to first discuss the best way to proceed.
“I want to disabuse anybody of the notion that the staff here is working hard to prevent things,” City Attorney Stephen Postema told The Michigan Daily, adding that the recent court ruling and other factors have created a lot of confusion.
It remains to be seen whether the city will move forward with the plan in the end. But it appears that some cities are at least trying to work around the chaos that defines the industry these days.