- Pontiac’s medical marijuana ordinance is set to allow 20 provisioning centers
- All other license types will have no limit on numbers
- Applicants seeking a provisioning center permit will have to meet a 21 day application window
There is another mad rush for marijuana zoned ‘green real estate’, but this time it is in Oakland County.
In last week’s primary elections, Pontiac residents chose between three competing medical marijuana facility ordinances. The first ordinance proposed allowing 20 provisioning centers, and an unlimited number of marijuana cultivation facilities, cannabis processing locations, safety compliance testing laboratories, and marijuana transportation companies. The second proposed ordinance suggested 4 provisioning centers and 2 of each additional license type. The third ordinance option proposed opting Pontiac out of the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act completely.
On August 7th, the voters spoke, narrowly electing Proposal 1 with 3,900 yes votes and 3,891 no votes.
Pontiac Mayor, Deirdre Waterman, alludes that a major factor in allowing this ordinance was the opportunity of job creation in saying, “This particular proposal was sold to the public that it would bring more jobs to Pontiac … certainly developing jobs and workforce development are key components in this administration and if this proposal lends itself to that we’ll certainly seek out ways to do that.”
As one of the few cities in Oakland County to opt in for provisioning centers, the 20 lucky licensees will have the opportunity to service over 1.2 million local residents. This opportunity has led to extraordinarily high demand for real estate, even though the city hasn’t even written their zoning ordinance. Retail properties in high traffic locations are getting bid up well over asking, often with quick closings and no contingencies.
The city has already begun working closely with the city attorney and planning department to assure the new ordinance fits with the existing building safety codes. “This can’t be done overnight”, Mayor Waterman commented.
The actual ordinance holds a similar structure to Detroit’s medical marijuana ordinance passed last month. Pontiac’s medical marijuana ordinance creates the Medical Marihuana Commission, which will consist of four members appointed by the Mayor. The commission reviews and decides all appeals of previously denied applicants forwarded by the city clerk. For the commission to overturn a decision made by the clerk, they must find “such decision or finding to be arbitrary or capricious and not supported by material, substantial and competent facts.”
In other words, the Medical Marihuana Commission reviews those who appeal after their application is denied by the city clerk.
The Application Process
Applications will be accepted 60 days after the ordinance takes effect, and the city clerk must implement a 21 day application window for provisioning centers only. Provisioning center licenses will be awarded based on a points system. The applicants will be evaluated on factors such as: sufficient information provided on the application, proposed facility’s adherence to land use regulations, planned community outreach, and plans to combat odor, noise, and traffic effects on the surrounding neighborhood. Each applicant will be scored out of 130 points, and the 20 best applications will be granted permits. A scoring tie is resolved via a random draw to fill the 20 provisioning spots.
Many governing bodies that utilize a point system have ended up tangled in lawsuits from the losing groups throughout Michigan and many other states.
Read the full ordinance here.