FRIDAY, Dec. 7 — The city of Lansing is finally home to its first state-licensed pot shop.
Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board — by a 4-0 vote —issued an operating license today to Homegrown Lansing, a dispensary at 1116 E. Oakland Ave. The license is the first of its kind to arrive in the capital city since City Clerk Chris Swope doled out his first batch of city licenses to ten local pot shops last week.
Attempts to contact the registered applicants for the company, Thomas Saad Jr. and Brian Brzustewicz, were unsuccessful. Messages left with the staff at dispensary were not immediately returned earlier this afternoon. Homegrown’s Facebook page advertises it as the “newest and soon-to-be best” dispensary in the city.
Among other developments at today’s meeting concerning the local medical marijuana industry:
● Capital City Provisioning Center LLC. or “The Lansing Botanical Co.,” received prequalification from the state, a preliminary step to a full operating license. It was approved by the city last month but its storefront at 3525 Capital City Blvd. remains closed this week. The Oil Standard LLC — the processing and growing arms of that company — also received prequalification for their respective operations, including a processor on Kalamazoo Street.
● Better Than Nature LLC. was rejected by the state board for prequalification status before it could continue its bid for a state license. The shop planned to open at 820 W. Miller Road and had previously received conditional approval from the city of Lansing. Officials cited a failure to provide financial statements before unanimously rejecting the company’s application.
● Apex Ultra Worldwide, or “Bazonzoes,” was also denied for prequalification. The company had plans for a dispensary at 2101 W. Willow St. and had been approved by the City of Lansing. State officials cited a “pattern or history” of failing to meet tax obligations before the denial.
● Primative, another would-be dispensary off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., was also denied prequalification status. It still remains on the “pending” list of applications with Swope’s office.
And the city must ultimately grant a local license before the state will ever issue one of its own.
● Green Peak Industries LLC. was approved for 10 state operating licenses for growing facilities in Dimondale. Although that company had received local, conditional approval for two Lansing growing operations, today’s decision had no bearing on their local business ventures.
The three denied businesses will still have another opportunity to appeal the decision and receive state approval.
Earlier this week, Mayor Andy Schor threw his support behind several local dispensaries ahead of today’s licensing meeting. The city had done “a lot of work” to handle the approvals on its end — including several hours battling the state in the courtroom — for local pot shops to find their way onto today’s agenda, he said.
“It’s just a matter of if they’ve done their work to get approved for the state,” Schor said. “I’d like to see them getting those licenses from the state and I’d like to see some local dispensaries approved by that commission.”
Dispensaries ultimately need an OK from the state and the city to permanently operate. Swope last month issued local licenses to 10 dispensaries, most of them to still-vacant storefronts. An 11th license to MPM-R Lansing LLC. or “Michigan Pure Med” has since been issued from Swope’s office.
Among those 11 local shops, only Homegrown, Edgewood Wellness, Pure Options and Old 27 Wellness are open for business. Of those four, only Homegrown has so far been considered (and approved) for state licensure.
Swope previously denied Greenwave Provisioning Center specifically on the basis of of the state’s denial but it’s unclear if Primative, Bazones or the shop tied to Better Than Nature will also lose their bid for local licenses. Swope said the applicants will be evaluated but no decisions have been made.
Only two other local dispensaries — Greenwave and Cannaiseur — have been so far been considered by the state for licensing. Greenwave was denied prequalification status but looks to reverse the decision through an appeal. Cannaiseur, which is still listed as “pending” for a local license, was previously approved for prequalification.
Lansing has also issued licenses for 49 growers, 13 processors, one safety compliance facility and one transporter.
Amid concerns surrounding the supply and demand within the medical marijuana market, board members also took action today to ease away from existing industry regulations. Dispensaries, at least until the end of the year, will be able to purchase their products from licensed caregivers instead of only from licensed growing facilities.
Testimony from a recent lawsuit waged against the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suggested the limited number of growing facilities licensed by the state were simply incapable of keeping up with industry demands. Forcing dispensaries to only resupply with those facilities would invariably cause a shortage, some said.
Industry estimates suggest some 300,000 Michigan cardholders will consume about a pound of marijuana every year. The number of growing facilities licensed in the state — production limited to about 1,000 pounds per year — will still likely be incapable of providing an adequate supply for the ever-growing number of patients.
The recent resolution also provides a quickly approaching sunset to that provision. Dispensaries beginning on Jan. 1 will only be able to obtain marijuana from licensed marijuana growing facilities regardless. Attorney Joslin Monahan said the demand, in her opinion, will still greatly outweigh the available supply throughout Michigan.
The Medical Marihuana Licensing Board only provides licenses to medical marijuana businesses. Recreational marijuana, although officially legalized earlier this week, is not expected to become available for retail sale in Michigan for at least another year. The new law allows for limited cultivation but sales still remain prohibited.
The state licensing board meets once more this year on Dec. 21 and will meet again next year on Jan. 16.
Visit lansingcitypulse.com for previous and continued coverage on medical marijuana regulation.