Ann Arbor Approves Extended Hours for Marijuana Dispensaries Until Midnight

September 6th, 2023 Legislation & Policy Updates
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In a unanimous decision on Tuesday night, September 5th, the City Council approved the elongation of hours for the city's cannabis retailers. The revised ordinance permits these establishments to operate an additional three hours, shifting their closing time from 9 p.m. to midnight, to cater to night-time clientele.

This change came with minimal debate. However, Council Member Lisa Disch, D-1st Ward, alluded to forthcoming modifications in marijuana business regulations. Among these are the introduction of a Class-A micro-business license, which will allow holders to cultivate up to 300 cannabis plants – a significant increase from the existing limit – and to procure marijuana-infused products from processors.

The extended operating hours have garnered attention from marijuana business proprietors. A memo to the council from city staff highlighted that, following consultations with the Ann Arbor Police Department, the recommendation was made in favor of these extended hours for sales.

In the wake of adopting the city's cannabis business guidelines a few years back, updates have been made periodically to support the burgeoning industry. As it stands, there are 23 operational marijuana retailers within Ann Arbor's confines.

Ahead of the ordinance amendment's preliminary approval in August, some council members sought clarifications from the city staff. Council Member Erica Briggs, D-5th Ward, raised concerns on behalf of residents living in proximity to dispensaries, emphasizing their reluctance towards increased late-night traffic. In response, the staff noted that one of the reasons for the extended hours was the current allowance of alcohol sales at bars until 2 a.m., whereas marijuana dispensaries had a much earlier curfew at 9 p.m.

On the safety front, while there were initial apprehensions about a 2 a.m. cutoff, mainly due to cash reserves at these dispensaries, a compromise of midnight was suggested as a probationary period. This aims to monitor any surge in crime rates during the extended hours. If this phase proves successful without any marked issues, there's potential for even later closing hours in the future.

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