CENTER LINE — Being the first at anything often comes with a special responsibility, and that’s not lost on attorney Nick Hannawa, co-founder of Clinic Cannabis Co., Center Line’s first medical marijuana dispensary.
“It’s going to be the first state-licensed medical marijuana facility in Macomb County. I think that’s a big deal,” Hannawa said. “You kind of set the example for what members of the community should expect.”
What they’ll see at his dispensary, Hannawa said, is a business that plays by the rules set forth by Center Line’s elected leaders and administrative team. They planned a soft opening for June 5, almost two and a half years after the City Council approved the local medical marijuana facilities ordinance and almost three and half years after the state of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act went into effect.
“I do want the public to know that these facilities are beginning to open in Center Line,” City Manager Dennis Champine said. “We’ve worked hard on this project, and we certainly have some of the best rules and laws in the state of Michigan, as far as I’m concerned.
“We’ve had a great deal of success with the number of permits that were requested and approved,” Champine said.
Center Line has opted out of permitting recreational marijuana businesses, and its ordinance sets very specific requirements for medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries), three classes of grow operations, processing centers, safety compliance facilities and secure transporters.
Hannawa said fencing around Clinic Cannabis, on Lawrence Avenue at the Interstate 696 service drive, was one requirement. Surveillance video that can be directly monitored by the Center Line Public Safety Department is another that all medical marijuana facilities in the city must follow.
Not all cities have the same rules, but Hannawa said the requirements and his operation’s compliance would leave nothing for patients or neighbors to be concerned about.
“They’re going to be pleasantly surprised at what a professional, respectable, dignified operation that we run,” Hannawa said.
Hannawa, a native Detroiter, also owns and operates the state-licensed Northern Roots Provisioning Center in Oscoda. He said the Center Line project cost more than $1 million, which included a significant investment in the 4,000 square foot building the company leases.
Champine said one advantage for Center Line is that the zoning requirements restrict medical marijuana businesses to one area of the small city. The administrative team identified 32 potential qualified properties in that area. If all of those fill up, the city could award a maximum of 95 permits spread across all different facility types, if “stacked” to the maximum potential.
Stacking refers to the issuance of multiple facility-type permits at the same property in accordance with state guidelines.
Center Line currently has issued all 15 of its provisioning center permits. The number was approved by the City Council. Two processing center permits have also been issued. Grow permits in various classifications tied to the number of plants on the property continue to move through the council for approval.
The influx of tax assessments from the new facilities could be a boon for the city and a break for city taxpayers. Champine also said permits and fees have already netted $270,000 in new revenue, and he projected the total increase in revenue could reach $500,000 when adding the city’s portion of any tax from medical marijuana sales.