Apps roll in at deadline

Owosso City Hall

OWOSSO — City officials revealed Monday they received 110 applications to obtain one of just four medical marijuana provisioning center licenses it plans to award.

The deadline to apply for a license was Friday and 90 applications were filed on the final day. At the council’s April 15 meeting, members set a 30-day window from May 1 to May 30 for people to submit applications for medical marijuana provisioning center licenses.

The 110 applicants proposed 33 different locations for the potential dispensaries.

“Four (licenses) was what the planning commission recommended to the city council and after one year that number will be evaluated so if we want to add more we can,” City Manager Nathan Henne said.

Now that the 30-day window has closed, there will be a lottery drawing June 13 to determine which applicants receive the licenses.

The lottery will be live-streamed similar to the Michigan Lottery drawings.

After the June 13 lottery drawing, the successful applicants, with approval from Owosso in hand, will have to go through the full approval process with the state.

“It’s pretty easy to get pre-approval from the state. They haven’t even begun to go through the full approval process yet. The application with the city is nowhere near the end of the process they still have a long way to go with the state,” Henne said.

Because of that, the time frame for when one of these dispensaries will open is undetermined. The four winners of the June 13 lottery will begin the process of gaining state approval immediately following the drawing and the applicants will work with the state to gain full approval while working in conjunction with the city to gain their approval for site plans etc.

The city has not determined what to do if one of the four applicants that win the lottery is not able to gain full approval from the state.

“We’ll cross that bridge if and when the time comes,” Henne said.

The city charged the maximum amount allowable under the law for the applications, $5,000. He said those who do not receive licenses will receive half of their application fee back.

He expects the application process to generate about $285,000 for the city.

Each applicant was only allowed to apply for one provisioning center license to prevent them from monopolizing the market.

According to Henne, the applicants must have pre-approval from the state.

Licensing at the state level is handled by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

LARA has created guidelines for who can apply. Among other things, to apply for a provisioning center license at the state level an applicant has to be 21, a non-felon and have demonstrated the financial capability of starting and maintaining the business.

The pre-approval process includes a background check of the applicant and all investors.

Besides showing the city that they had pre-approval from the state, applicants also had to submit a security plan, floor plan, storage plan, and an odor management plan.

“A lot of them included some pretty interesting air circulating technology to reduce odors to the surrounding areas,” Henne said.

The four applicants that win the lottery will have to follow zoning guidelines set forward by the city.

The city’s lottery process was delayed last year while officials determined zoning ordinances for marijuana establishments.

At its March 18 meeting, the Owosso city council set the parameters for where a marijuana provisioning center can be located.

The guidelines are that a provisioning center:

n May not be located within 200 feet of the real property comprising or used by a public or private elementary, vocational or secondary school.

n May not be located within 100 feet of a residentially zoned structure.

n May not be located within 100 feet of a vacant residentially zoned parcel.

The applications and lottery are for medical marijuana facilities. Recreational marijuana businesses remain under a moratorium while the city awaits state rules for such operations.

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