What would you do for a chance at a million dollars? Some Michigan residents are camping outside in the freezing temperatures for a chance at just that opportunity, in the form of a medical marijuana dispensary license which could make them multi-millionaires within the next decade.
There are already four groups in line outside the doors of the Leoni Township offices in Jackson County, just west of Ann Arbor, all awaiting a 7:30am application start date- on Wednesday, November 1st, almost a week away. A camper, an R.V. and some passenger cars are parked in a huge field of frosted grass as their human owners wait days and nights for their opportunity at prosperity in the new field of business grass.
According to WeatherUnderground.com, temperatures dipped as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit in Jackson County early Friday morning, October 27. Undeterred, Ryan Basore of Michigan Marijuana Law Experts said, “It’s worth it.”
Michigan is in the process of creating a new, regulated medical marijuana business environment and will begin accepting business applications in December. In advance of that rules rollout many Michigan communities and citizens are stating their intent to participate in the new Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) program.
Leoni Township has passed ordinances allowing each of the five state-regulated business to exist in their community, including medical marijuana growers, processors, transporters, testing labs and retail distribution centers. The zoning restrictions established by the Township does not put a cap on the number of entities they can license in each category, except the retail distribution centers- dispensaries- of which only six will be allowed.
Those applications will be accepted locally starting on November 1st. That date has been known and published for more than a month, according to Basore, but the lineup frenzy was touched off by a meeting of potential applicants held by Township officials on Wednesday, October 25. The first-come, first-served policy was explained and less than 24 hours later people began arriving at the Township offices- at approx. 4:20 PM on Thursday evening, Basore said.
Basore is number four in the Leoni Township line. He and fellow MMLE voice Jamie Lowell discussed the circumstance surrounding the ordinance in the Township.
“The application is online, and the Township is requiring $250,000 in verifiable assets for qualified candidates,” a number which is in line with the state’s recently-announced capitalization requirement for provisioning centers of $300,000. “That could be a line of credit from a bank, and that is a very reasonable way to verify financial fitness,” Basore explained.
Details of the ordinance may deter some from joining the lineup outside the Township offices. “Leoni is only going to accept ten applications for those six spots,” Basore said. “First come, first served, and if you get out of this line you lose your spot.”
The MMFLA rollout is being supervised by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who on Thursday issued a press release announcing regulations for local communities who choose to accept medical marijuana businesses in the MMFLA program. The rules restrict municipalities from imposing potency restrictions or adding additional taxes to the sale of medicinal cannabis, which is taxed by the MMFLA on a statewide level at 3%.
“They’ve done it well, they have been fair,” Basore said of Township officials and their ordinance adoption process. “It’s text book for how you would want it to be done.”
Except for the week-long line for hopefuls, he joked. Lowell has seen this camping-out-to-get-opportunity for a dispensary license before.
“They did that in Ypsilanti in 2011,” he explained, “made people stand in line for first-come, first-served dispensary applications. Folks camped out on the sidewalk for a few days.”
Lowell is the co-founder of 3rd Coast Dispensary in Ypsilanti, created in 2009 and widely accepted as the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary recognized by their local community. “We were grandfathered in, so we did not have to wait in that line.”
Although it seems unnecessary Lowell is prepared to wait in this line for his new company, MMLE, and their unnamed local client, regardless of the consequence. “I thought it was kind of illogical then,” he explained. “There are other ways to do a selection process.”
Those other ways include not capping the number of dispensary licenses; weighing the merits of each application and selecting the most qualified candidates; or creating a lottery system where all applicant teams who meet the requirements are pooled and six are randomly selected.
Lowell is prepared to go the distance to maintain the coveted Number Four spot in Leoni Township’s line. “Many people are willing to do it. We are willing to do it for our client.”
Source: The Social Revolution