In October 2019, the City Commission of Grand Rapids adopted a licensing ordinance for adult-use (or recreational) marijuana businesses in accordance with the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). The Grand Rapids ordinance has the effect of “opting in” to the licensing and regulatory structure established by the MRTMA. Currently, 41 municipalities in the state of Michigan have adopted similar ordinances expressly opting-in to permit adult-use marijuana businesses, while 1,424 municipalities have adopted ordinances to prohibit all adult-use businesses within their jurisdiction.
There are nine types of licenses allowed under the Ordinance and the City has placed no caps on the number of licenses it will issue. The licenses permitted are:
- Provisioning Center/Retailer;
- Designated Consumption Establishment;
- Safety Compliance Facility;
- Secure Transporter;
- Marihuana Related Event Coordinator;
- Marihuana Related Temporary Event.
Under the MRTMA, local municipal approval is a prerequisite to obtaining full state licensure from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA). So what does the local application process look like in Grand Rapids? An applicant is required to submit their application to the City Clerk on a form provided by the City. Applicants are required to provide information to the City Clerk that ensures the applicant has the fitness and ability to comply with the Ordinance. This information includes proof that the applicant has been granted prequalification status from the MRA, proof of zoning approval, a security plan, proof of liability insurance, proof of a universal design plan, proof of environmental sustainability plan, and more. Finally, the local application process requires a non-refundable $5,000 application fee per license sought.
After receiving an application, the City Clerk will conduct an investigation and, if reasonably satisfied that all requirements are successfully demonstrated, the Clerk “shall” issue a license. Violations of the Ordinance constitute a civil infraction for each day of violation and will be subject to fines and costs as set by the State.
Applications will not be accepted by the City until six months from the adoption of the Ordinance. So, although the City of Grand Rapids currently has no operating recreational facilities, the City has indicated that it will begin accepting applications in April 20, 2020. The irony that the City has tentatively selected April 20 has not been lost on potential applicants, as April 20 holds cultural significance as “Weed Day” for cannabis connoisseurs.
- Recreational marijuana products must be separated from medical marijuana products within a licensed facility.
- Patrons must be age 21 or older with government-issued photo ID to access and buy marijuana products from a licensed facility.
- Alcohol or tobacco products cannot be sold or consumed on licensed premises unless also licensed to do so.
- The consumption or use of marijuana itself may not be used on licensed premises unless also licensed to do so.
- All marijuana in any form on the premises must be cultivated, manufactured, tested, sold, and packaged in the State of Michigan.
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