By Charles Sercombe
With a new city attorney on board, city officials say they are preparing to tackle a zoning question that has been long delayed.
Medical marijuana dispensaries have been legal for several years, but Hamtramck officials have refused to take up a needed, critical step in allowing them to operate here.
To be specific, the city has to come up with a zoning law that designates where the dispensaries can operate and how many licenses to operate here can be issued. Without those items in place, no dispensaries can open up.
According to officials, there are several would-be operators waiting in the wings to open up.
But no matter what zoning law the city comes up with, operators, growers and transporters will have a huge hurdle to jump. State legislators have passed requirements so stringent, any mom and pop style operator won’t have the financial means to get into this business.
State law requires operators and those associated with the production of marijuana to have liquid financial backing totaling up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. On top of that, they must also have clean criminal backgrounds and not have a history of falling behind on property taxes.
Also, all those connected with the dispensaries must be listed – meaning there cannot be any silent business partners.
A state panel has been set up to review all applicants. So far, it doesn’t look good.
The first two people to apply were denied permission because of past records. There are hundreds of applicants waiting to get approval and the panel has been moving at a snail’s pace.
On top of all this, there is a chance the recreational use of marijuana may become legal in the near future. It looks like a ballot issue to legalize its use will be on the November ballot.
However, it’s not clear where or how users could purchase marijuana. That again, may become a zoning issue.