March 18 2013 12:00 AM

With a Saturday deadline, few medical marijuana dispensaries have applied to the city clerk for licenses they need to operate under Lansing’s new ordinance

Thursday, July 7 — When the Lansing City Council established medical marijuana dispensary regulations June 27, it gave existing businesses 10 days to apply with the city for a license to operate.

Of the 41 operating businesses, only “three or four” have applied for licenses. If the rest don’t apply by Saturday, City Clerk Chris Swope said today, they will be violating the city’s new ordinance.

Even though the City Council is yet to establish licensing fees and cap the number of dispensaries that will be allowed to operate in the city, Swope said existing businesses still need to apply for a “preliminary license.” Those businesses will get billed the licensing fees once they’re established by Council.

The Public Safety Committee hopes to establish those fees and a maximum number today, which will go before the full Council for approval on Monday.

Swope said while dispensary owners would be violating the ordinance if they’re operating without a license, his office will still process applications if they come in past the Saturday deadline.

The city’s new medical marijuana dispensary ordinance took immediate effect when adopted June 27 and establishes zoning and buffering requirements, as well as a licensing process administered by Swope’s office. Existing businesses who don’t comply with the zoning requirements are allowed to stay open for a year but were given 10 days to apply for a license after the ordinance was adopted.