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203 marijuana dispensaries submit bids to operate in Detroit


March 31, 2016 7:09 p.m. Updated

Deadline for dispensary bids to operate was Thursday

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By By Marti Benedetti

A total of 203 medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit met the March 31 deadline to submit bids to operate in the city required by a zoning ordinance, according to Dave Bell, interim director of the city’s Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department.

“As the corporation counsel letter to all 211 identified medical marijuana facilities operating in the city stated, any businesses operating without all proper city approval is doing so at its own risk,” Butch Hollowell, city Corporate Counsel, said in an email.

The zoning ordinance, which was approved by Detroit City Council last December, calls for dispensaries to submit bids between March 1 and 31 to operate in the city.

The zoning ordinance requires that dispensaries operate in designated zones such as 1,000 feet from Drug Free zones, including arcades, child care centers, educational institutions, libraries, outdoor recreation facilities, schools and youth activity centers, among other institutions.

The marijuana reform group, Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, tried to stop the bid requirement in early March with two petitions. The petitions were deemed invalid by the city because, according to state law, they were not submitted in time.

Greg Pawlowski, co-chairman of the Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform and a self-described activist, caregiver and office manager, said the group has legal representation and is taking action against the city. Further details could not be obtained Thursday.

Another requirement, announced in mid-March, calls for medical marijuana caregiver centers to pay nearly $4,000 annually to the city for fees associated with a business license and inspections. The requirement has not gone into effect yet, Bell added. It becomes effective after a caregiver center “has been approved via the applicable hearing process,” Bell said in the email. “Centers must go through a plan review, permit issuance and apply for a business license before paying the related license and inspections fees.”

So far, no dispensaries have paid the $1,470 application fee to secure a license or the $2,276 inspection fee to the Detroit Health Department.

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