Council Votes to Allow More Marijuana Businesses in Ferndale
(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 15, 2021)
Ferndale, MI – Ferndale City Council voted Monday to increase the number of permitted recreational marijuana retailers from three to six.
Councilperson Greg Pawlica was the only no vote to the ordinance change, stating that he felt the number should be five since that is how the city did it with medical marijuana dispensaries in April of 2020. He clarified that he supported cannabis business expansion, and that the number of businesses was his only concern.
Currently there are seven total addresses already approved by the City of Ferndale as State licensed marijuana facilities. Liv, Gage, and Green Buddha are the three businesses with retail licenses, and they each also are a medical marijuana provisioning center. 925 E. Drayton and 925 E. 9 Mile are approved for medical provisioning centers. 2321 Wolcott is a safety compliance facility. And 1521 E. 8 Mile is listed as a medical marijuana caregiver facility.
Mayor Melanie Piana said council members had received letters from businesses in favor of the expansion, and from those opposed. An attorney representing an established retailer, LIV, said the business “welcomed competition,” but urged the city to delay the vote.
“Two of the five medical licensees are not yet open in operation,” he said. “So what we’d ask council to consider is the possibility of taking that measured, disciplined approach in tabling this expansion of the number of facilities right now until the city can adequately see if it can handle two additional facilities.
“We don’t know what the impact of those five facilities, fully operational, is going to be. Are there going to be issues with traffic congestion, and we’ve heard a lot about parking concerns, if there are going to be any noise issues, issues with odor or anything like that.” He did note that the existing businesses have proven themselves by not having those kinds of problems.
Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana has been welcoming of cannabis businesses through her years on City Council and as Mayor. “It is not the city’s job to determine supply and demand of marijuana that makes a business successful. That is the industry, and that is capitalism. And that is what we have relied on here,” she said.
In considering the expansion, City staff looked at the impact of the current business. “Routine calls were made to the Police Department, but no compliancy issues or enforcements,” according to the presentation made by Planning Manager Justin Lyons.
They also looked at surrounding communities to see where they stood as far as marijuana businesses.
“Adjacent communities are in various stages of the permitting processes,” the presentation said, while reporting “the known number of total permits allotted by marijuana use by community.” Berkley has three for medical and three for retail. Hazel Park has six for medical and six for retail. Madison Heights allows for three medical facilities. And Royal Oak allows for two retail. Cities also have businesses with other uses including designed consumption, growing, microbusinesses, processors, safety compliance facilities, and secure transporters.
“I appreciate the businesses who are seeking to establish themselves in Ferndale, or expand their presence in Ferndale,” Piana said. “Ferndale has really tried through our council and staff to create a fair and equatable process for all of the applicants and making sure that we are doing our due diligence.”
The ordinance takes effect June 20. A tentative timeline anticipates the City accepting marijuana retailer applications on or around Aug. 19, accepting them through Oct. 19, and consideration of the applications to be done by Council at the Nov. 22 meeting, although the timeline is just tentative.
Ferndale Adds Licenses for Recreational and Medical Marijuana Sales (April 30, 2020)