PETOSKEY — At the start of this week, Petoskey had three applicants interested in opening marijuana dispensaries in the city, meaning the city may be able to forego the raffle process for selecting licensees.
The deadline for applicants is Wednesday, April 22. According to an email from Petoskey City Clerk Al Terry, the three applicants for medical marijuana provisioning centers all turned in their applications between April 15 and 17. All of those applicants are still under review by the city, so it’s not yet clear whether they have the necessary qualifications to be granted a license.
• Petoskey Alternative Health, proposed for 1111 Charlevoix Ave.
• Arbor Farm1 LLC, proposed for 314 W. Mitchell St.
• Lake Effect Group LLC, proposed for 910 Spring St.
The News-Review obtained the information about those applicants mid-afternoon Monday, leaving another day and a half for more applications to be submitted. But, if no other applications are filed and all qualifications are met, those would be the first three potential medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
According to the marijuana ordinance, only three marijuana businesses will be allowed to operate in the city. Petoskey officials chose to employ a raffle system to select licensees if they receive more than three applications.
“The ordinance states there’s a deadline if you have more than three applicants,” Terry said at a previous meeting. “If we don’t receive any applicants or if there’s less than three, there’s no deadline and it just goes on.”
Before they can even be entered into the raffle, however, applicants will first have to qualify for a license through the state licensing application process. That alone comes with its own fees and an intensive background check process.
At that point, the city will review the applications. Previously, Terry said it was not clear how long that review will take, but current city documents are estimating another 30 days. After that, the lottery will take place 30 days after the reviews are complete — some time around June 21. The raffle is meant to occur at a city council meeting.
According to city documents, the city’s raffle will be used to create a waiting list of applicants. Those at the start of the list will be directed to have their business plan approved by the city planning commission, where they will have six months to obtain a special use permit. If the planning commission approves the special use permit, the applicant will then be eligible for a final license approval by the state.
That timeline does not take into account how long it will take to get additional permits from the city for zoning- and building-related purposes.
According the ordinance language, the city would allow medical marijuana facilities as a special condition use in the B-3 General Business District, B-3B Business Industrial and Planned Unit Development (PUD) districts with a 1,000-foot buffer from K-12 public and private schools, and with a 500-foot minimum distance between facilities.
That would leave seven specific perimeters open for facilities — primarily along the U.S. 31 and U.S. 131 corridors.
Municipalities must set licensing application costs based on how much it will cost for staff to process the license — and they cannot charge any more than $5,000. According to city documents, Petoskey’s staff estimates that it will cost more than that to review applications, so the initial application will cost $5,000.
License holders are also required to renew their license on an annual basis. The application for a renewal will cost $5,000 as well.