Dec. 14 2017 09:57 AM

Bernero tells pot businesses to license or face consequences


Bernero tells pot businesses to license or face consequences

Marijuana businesses in Lansing are facing strict deadlines to get their applications for licensing submitted or face closure. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who completes his third and last term Jan. 1, issued an executive order on Monday laying out the timeline for compliance.

The order, which is effective immediately, requires growers, transporters, testers and processors of medical marijuana who do not apply for a conditional city license to shut down by 5 p.m. Dec. 31. Provisioning centers will be required to shut down even earlier. The order mandates dispensaries must either apply for a city license by Friday or close by 5 p.m. Dec. 22.

Applicants who are denied a local or state license must immediately cease operations.

With four days left in the initial application period, there have been no applications for a license under the city’s medical marijuana ordinance as of Monday afternoon, according to Deputy City Clerk Brian Jackson. The application period for city licenses opened on Nov. 16.

Jackson said a timeline for the City Clerk’s office to finish scoring applications and begin issuing city licenses had not been determined. State licenses are expected to be issued by April 2018, if not sooner, David Harns of the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said.

Civil infractions will be issued against businesses who do not follow the order, with $1,000-a-day fines for each day a rogue business continues to operate. The businesses could also face mandatory lockdown by city officials and other civil actions.

City Attorney Jim Smiertka, the Lansing Police Department, the Lansing Fire Department, and the Building Safety and Zoning divisions of the Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development are authorized to take action against non-compliant facilities under the executive order.

Applicants for a city license must also apply for a state license by Feb. 15, or they will be shut down as well. State applications must include an attestation from the city clerk that the municipality has allowed medical marijuana facilities, according to Harns.

If businesses have not received a state license by June 15, they are required to close immediately.

A resolution submitted to the city council by Bernero will be heard during the Council’s meeting on Monday, satisfying a requirement under LARA’s emergency rules.