No ‘green rush’: TC’s non-medical pot licenses are below the maximum | Local News
TRAVERSE CITY – When Traverse City began accepting applications for medical cannabis licenses in 2019, more than 70 potential suppliers applied.
Now, as the city prepares to approve licenses for adult-use cannabis retailers, otherwise known as recreational marijuana dispensaries, they have a slightly smaller slate of candidates ahead of them. As of last week’s deadline, the city clerk’s office reports receiving 16 applications, including a 17th after the deadline.
That’s two-thirds of the maximum 24 licenses city leaders agreed to in May, when they set the rules for new establishments.
This means applicants will not have to be ranked against the additional scoring rubric the city has established to narrow down applicants.
And it may also mean that the industry has ‘slowed down’ since its inception and retailers aren’t chasing a place in every market that opens up. It could signal that the days of land grabbing and speculation associated with the marijuana trade are over in Traverse City, a local leader suggested.
“We saw this kind of gold rush – I think they called it the ‘green rush’ back then – in our real estate market when we opened up medical, and we were hoping it wouldn’t happen. not this time,” said Amy Shamroe, city commissioner and pro-tem mayor. “And so far, from what I’ve heard, that’s not the case.”
Shamroe said she wasn’t necessarily surprised by the lower number of applicants this time around and the result was about what she hoped.
Shamroe was part of the ad hoc committee that established Traverse City’s marijuana ordinance and licensing rules, including the competitive scoring process that would have been implemented if the city received more than eight applications. additional. The city had previously attempted to establish limits and a scoring rubric for adult-use cannabis applicants, but those rules were blocked in 2020 when a dispensary owner sued alleging they were too restrictive.
Early City Commission discussions raised the possibility of setting the maximum even lower, ranging from four to 12, according to earlier reports. The final decision split the commission 4-3, with the holdouts all expressing a preference for a lower number.
But Shamroe said she believes 24 is reasonable, allowing established medical cannabis supply centers to apply for adult use licenses, without excluding potential lottery-passed retailers from city medical licenses.
As it stands, all 12 current medical marijuana establishments have applied for a recreational marijuana license.
Now, the Traverse City Clerk’s Office and the Traverse City Police Department will spend most of the next year reviewing the many supporting documents that accompany applications.
This includes documents such as financial history, industry experience, background information on major investors, and proof of legal ownership. In total, these documents may contain a few hundred pages, said City Clerk Benjamin Marentette.
“Even though we haven’t received more applications than available licenses, that doesn’t mean that all applicants will get a license,” he said. “That’s our hope, but we have to do our due diligence.”
He expects all applications to be complete by March 2023.
Eventually, applicants will have to go through the urban planning department to have their site permits approved.
“That’s what we do here every day and deal with those requests,” planning director Shawn Winter said. “We have a fairly efficient system, so I don’t care about that.”
Going forward, Shamroe said she hopes retailers that open will be good neighbors to their surrounding businesses, residents and homeowners. Due to the smaller numbers, as well as the fact that on-site use won’t be allowed, she said she doesn’t think Traverse City will become a “hub” for the industry, as some had fears. Instead, cannabis may be just another of the many goods people can buy when they’re in town.
“That’s what people do here,” she says. “They buy wine, they buy alcohol distilled from distilleries that are made here, if they choose to buy cannabis here too, it’s certainly legal, and there’s nothing wrong with that. .”