After passing an initial “opt-in ordinance” on May 14, 2018, the City of Flint fully opted into the MMFLA after passing an official ordinance on July 31, 2018. The official ordinance’s passing is a major step in the right direction for the City of Flint and the marijuana industry for Michigan as a whole.
This ordinance has been on a bit of a roller coaster, as many city officials were against it. Back in April, Flint City Councilwoman Kate Fields said, “I don’t think Flint should be known as weed city U.S.A. Tree City maybe, but not weed city. I want to make sure that these industrial areas aren’t filled and we leave room for other types of businesses to come to town.”
The finalized ordinance is set to allow 20 provisioning centers, 5 secure transport facilities, 5 safety compliance facilities, an unlimited number of cultivation licenses, and an unlimited number of processing facilities. It seems a compromise was made, and this relatively small number of allotted facilities is what hopeful licensees have to work with.
An operating medical marijuana facility may only be operating after following these zoning restrictions:
Flint takes a somewhat different approach to the marijuana facility license application process in the way they are implementing the application window. The 45-day application window started on July 31, the same day the ordinance took effect, and closes on September 14 at 3:00pm.
That being said, this 45-day application period only applies to provisioning centers, safety compliance facilities, and secure transport facilities. After September 14, the city of Flint will stop taking marijuana license applications for those license types. Applications for cultivation and processing facilities, however, are not subject to any deadline or merit review.
This takes us into another troubling aspect of Flint’s newly adopted medical marijuana ordinance; the merit review. It is no secret that licenses granted based on a score/merit review open up the door to liability and lawsuits. Many cities and states have been sued by disgruntled applicants over the ambiguous circumstances in which their applications were denied. Flint is very likely to see a similar problem, especially with the relatively low number of dispensary permits available.
Licenses for a provisioning center, secure transport facility, or a safety compliance facility are awarded on a scoring basis. The applications for these facilities are broken up into six different sections, each covering a different aspect of the business. Here is each section name and their point values:
In the event of a scoring tie for the final licenses for each facility type, the ordinance calls for a set of two tie-breakers. The first tie breaking test is on the basis of citizenship; the license goes to the applicant that is a citizen of Flint. If the first test does not apply, the license is simply award to whomever turned in their application first.
Despite the possible obstacles in the future of Flint’s medical marijuana industry, Flint’s opt-in status is a sign of more major progress made in Michigan’s Cannabis Industry.