Medical Marijuana License Applications in Lansing Available Starting Friday

Oct 6, 2017

If you plan to operate a Medical Marijuana business in Lansing, the city now has applications available online for you to fill out.  


Lansing city clerk Chris Swope said people can begin applying for one of five different types of licenses. The city's new Medical Marijuana ordinance takes effect on Saturday, October 7.

There are five different types of licenses available:

-Provisioning Center

-Safety Compliance Facility

-Processor Facility

-Secure Transporter

-Grower Facility

Click on this sentence for the city's new webpage for applicants. The site will be operating closer to the weekend.

Licensees must complete applications, background check forms and other resources.

Starting Monday, Lansing will begin accepting applications for the Safety Compliance, Processor, Secure Transporter and Grower Facility licenses.

BROOKE ALLEN, MORNING EDITION HOST: Joining us to talk about that is Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope and we do need to mention that he is running to retain his position, his challenger is Jerimic Clayborn III. But Chris is here today to talk only about the new medical marijuana ordinance. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS SWOPE, LANSING CITY CLERK: Good morning, Brooke.

BA: Thank you for joining us. So, this has been an 18 months process getting to this point. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

CS: Sure. The city council has been working on the ordinance and various versions of the ordinance for quite a long time. The Public Safety Committee work on it for over a year and a half. They reported a version out which then the committee on development and planning within the city council wanted to take a look at it, so they kind of grabbed it, came up with another version. Then there was kind of a merge of those two versions. Then the Committee of the Whole, which is made up of all 8 councilmembers, kind of took the whole thing. So it’s been through three city council committees, there have been negotiations between individual councilmembers and various revisions and the final version of it didn’t actually get completely drafted until the night it was actually adopted, on September 7. You know, it’s had several members of the city attorney’s office working on it, and the mayor had input. It’s been a very complex process.

BA: And it’s been on the headlines a lot.

CS: It has been on the headlines a lot. It’s a big important issue for both sides. People who are supportive of medical marijuana definitely want to make sure that there is room for the industry to grow and thrive. Business factors are in both sides that want to make sure that we have a thriving industry but they also want to make sure that it is not negatively impacting other businesses. And then we have neighborhood people and groups who, you know, want to make sur that it’s not negatively impacting their neighborhoods or some of our business corridors through the City of Lansing. So, it’s a lot of different competing interests and overlapping interests to take into consideration.

BA: Right. So, we’ve got-- there are five different types of licenses available: provisioning centers, safety compliance facility, processor facility, secure transporter and grower facility. We are going to talk about those in just a few minutes, but we’ve only got about 7 seconds. But you said there is a $5,000 fee.

CS: That’s right. They have to pay that when they apply and we expect lot of them be using cash for that, unfortunately.

BA: We are talking with Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope. Lansing’s new Medical Marijuana ordinance takes effect this Saturday. And as we’ve reported, the ordinance places a cap on medical marijuana provisioning centers and dispensaries at 25 and there are five different types of licenses. Would you go over those for us?

CS: Sure. So, there are 5 different kind of licenses. We have the provisioning center, also known as dispensary. The safety compliance facility, processor facility, a secure transporter and a growing facility. Now, we would have applications available for those beginning tomorrow. And Monday we will begin accepting all of them except for the provisioning center. The other four license types, there is no cap set in the ordinance. So, we would not be having a specific opening and ending period for those applications, we will be getting those since the ordinance will be effective when we are back open for business on Monday. The ordinance -- so for the provisioning center since there is that cap of 25 –

BA: And again, that’s the dispensary.

CS: That’s the dispensary-- is the provisioning center --

BA: OK.

CS: That cap of 25, the ordinance is letting me set a 30-day window when we will accept those and I haven’t set that 30-day window yet, so if you are working with a provisioning center, keep your eyes open. We will be announcing that in the next week or two, but we are not quite ready to set that 30-day period yet. Once we do start accepting those, I want to emphasize, those would not be first come, first serve. There’s a specific grading scoring criteria set out in the ordinance, so it’s based on the quality of your business plan, the number of jobs created, positive and negative impacts on the surrounding community, positive and negative impacts on crime in the area. So, it’s going to be a complex scoring process. Once we get to accepting those, and again it’s not going to be first come, first serve, we will be going through each application scoring and it’s going to be the top scores. So, I just really want to emphasize, that when we do get to that 30-day window I want the provisioning centers, dispensaries to be aware.

BA: OK, so when is that 30-day window closes, how long do you think that process is going to take, to review?

CS: Well, it’s a little bit hard to figure out. We will- - we do have some specific pass-fail measures in terms of whether they meet the zoning and various other things, so it’s possible that some of the denials could come rather quickly. But then we have to score the business plan. We are still working to get an expert to help us with that project and we have to score the various parts on a 100-point scale. And then we have to basically have them all score before we can pick the top and initially its only 20. In the first round, there’s only 20 that get a license and then I have to set another open period for the five final licenses to be issues. So you know we have to get through that scoring and one of the provisions is that they can’t be within 500 feet of another provisioning center so that adds another level of complexity because if you have two high scoring that are near to each other, you know we have to shake that all out.

BA: Wow. OK, so this could – so it was 18 months getting to this point so now it’s just going to be a little bit of a process

CS: It will be a process. And you know the state—because all five of these also require that they have a state license, so they need our conditional license really to apply with the state. Our goal is that, close to the December 15 period when the state starts accepting it, our goal is to have most of those that are going to get their conditional licenses to know so they can start that state process because the state process will actually probably take several months in terms of their approval.

BA: OK. So, there are five different types of licenses available. The question: can an individual or company apply for more than one license?

CS: They can. Yes, they absolutely can. There are some restrictions in terms of the testing facility. Can’t be involved in another type of license and that is to make sure they aren’t inappropriately testing their own product. So, there are some limitations but a growing facility can definitely also separately operate it provisioning center. So yes, there can be. And you know, when you look at jobs created, if your provisioning center that’s attached that also owns a growing operations and, that’s part of your business plan, that impacts the number of jobs that you are creating in the community.

BA: Right, so it kind of goes hand in hand, almost.

CS: Right. Right.

BA: OK. So, how does somebody submits an application? I mean, there’s a lot involved here.

CS: There’s a lot involved. We have about a 5-page application but one page of it is just a checklist of about 23 other things that you have to have attached to it. So, you have to have the business plan, you have to have a security plan, you have to have a patient education plan, you have to have all these things attached when you apply. So, we aren’t going to let someone come in with a partial app and turn it in and come back in a week with the rest of it.

BA: So, you can’t do it piecemeal, you need to have everything intact.

CS: You can’t do it piecemeal, you have to have everything there along with the $5,000 fee and, you know, we are going to take a few mins and check and make sure you at least have something representing each of the things that are required, which includes insurance and either a bond or escrow account.

BA: Are referrals in the application? I’m just curious. Like, do you kneed somebody to vouch for you in the application?

CS: No, but part of the business plan does need resumes of the stake holders so there is some looking at the fact whether or not they have business experience and experience in this field.

BA: OK. So, if people have questions, and I assume there would be many, where should they go?

CS: Well right now we’ve set up a webpage … and we have also set up a list for those people who want to receive updates as they come so they can call my office 517-483-4131 and ask to be added to the update list and whenever we have news on medical marijuana we will be sending an email out to that group so people can be informed and know when things are happening

BA: OK. Thank you so much. Again, that was Chris Swope, Lansing city clerk.