A medical marijuana business is suing Traverse City after city leaders approved regulations that will only allow for four adult-use facilities whose licenses will be granted based on a scored criteria rubric.
Traverse City currently has 13 medical marijuana establishments, which means only four of them will be able to also sell to a recreational audience.
The city will favor recreational license applicants who invest in their community, use green energy and provide benefits for their employees. They also will favor applicants who build up housing on their lot. The full list of their criteria is listed here.
Leoni Wellness LLC licensed Puff Cannabis on Garfield, and their lawyer says the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act makes it illegal for any municipalities to stop medical and adult use licenses from co-locating. They also argue that these added requirements make the businesses incur more costs to gamble on getting a recreational license.
“They really have instituted some onerous requirements,” said attorney Joslin Monahan. “[Medical marijuana businesses] invested significantly into Traverse City and now we’re going to have to be forced to compete and spend a ton of money to maybe get these limited adult use permits.”
The city declined to comment on the litigation. City Clerk Benjamin Marentette explained what they’re looking for.
“The applicants will be, you know, they can get points for things such as if they’re adding a residential units on the second floor of their building, but none of these things are mandatory, it’s just like puts you in a better position to get a license,” said city clerk Benjamin Marentette.
Daniel Till at Green Pharm is building multiple housing units on the property, complete with a first floor wellness center, dog park, bike wash near the TART trail, and more.
“We’re not sparing any expense in that design,” said Till. “We’re excited to add a lot more amenities that the community can come in and enjoy.”
“We understand the city wants to move a little slower and get four licenses out first and kind of see how it goes before they give out more if they do,” he said.
The city clerk says it could be possible in the future.