The Ypsilanti City Council passed an ordinance with a 6-0 vote to amend its marijuana policy on Tuesday, July 2 at City Hall. The amendment reshaped city code by adding a provision that allows for transfer of city permits for medical marijuana facilities to new owners, if they are approved by the state.
Darrell Stavros, a resident of Ypsilanti who owns his business at 19 N Hamilton, spoke in support of the ordinance.
"We have people that we've employed for (11 years)," said Stavros. "If, for some reason, we weren't able to keep going, we'd like to be able to put someone in that place who could."
Multiple other business owners spoke in favor of the change and the potential benefit it would have for their employees.
"They (his employees) took a job in an industry where they didn't know where it was going and for them to be able to retain their job, say we did want to sell it (the business)," said Adam Casimir, who has been in Ypsilanti for over eight years.
The city had previously put in place strict requirements that made it harder to get a medical marijuana licence, according to City Attorney John Barr. This action cleans up the process for transferring permits from one owner to the next and creates three types of applications medical marijuana business owners can apply for.
"We wanted to make sure that everyone that ran the places was in good character and so on," said Barr.
Mayor Beth Bashert saw this as a pro-business vote for the 10 businesses engaged in medical marijuana in the city.
"I would like to see [those 10 businesses] have the ability to make decisions about the future of their business, engaging with others and transferring the licences," said Bashert. "I think that's more than fair and makes it worth while to be conducting business in the city of Ypsilanti."
The city did not previously forbid transfers of city permits but didn't outline how that procedure would go about.
Council members Anthony Morgan and Annie Somerville debated the benefit marijuana facilities have in Ypsilanti and whether they provide equity for all members of the community.
"Just like liquor licences, like homes and like medical marijuana facilities, the owners pass it down to who they see fit and who can be a good fit," said Morgan. "I think, as long as it promotes and provides equity to the city, in which is hasn't proven to yet, I'd be in full support of it."
Somerville hopes to "create room for women and people of color who have since been left out of the medical marijuana industry" by recognizing past failures as the city moves forward with recreational.