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Lansing updates criteria for Phase 2 of city's dispensary licensure

February 13, 2019
<p>Packaging sophomore Dave grinds marijuana Oct. 3, 2014, at his home in East Lansing. Dave smokes about once every hour. Julia Nagy/The State News</p>

Packaging sophomore Dave grinds marijuana Oct. 3, 2014, at his home in East Lansing. Dave smokes about once every hour. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

Changes to the scoring criteria for provisioning centers in Lansing's medical marijuana facility licensure process will be made after March 15 or later, once Phase 2 of the process is implemented, City Clerk Chris Swope's office announced.

The new criteria will differ from Phase 1 by giving more consideration to "high-wage jobs" created in the city that provide health insurance and other benefits to workers, according to a press release.

They will also promote spreading out dispensaries to avoid "clustering" and to make sure medication is available to those without easy access to transportation. Eight points will also be awarded to applicants who have received pre-approval from the State of Michigan.

"These changes were made based on feedback provided by the public and desire by the clerk to maximize the benefit to the city from the remaining five facilities," the press release reads. 

Swope announced the delaying of the second phase of dispensary applications in early January. 

So far, 175 medical marijuana facility license applications of all types have been submitted, while 116 have been approved. Of the applicants, 85 are dispensaries, while only 14 have been licensed by the state or conditionally approved by the city.

In Phase 1, which has been ongoing since Lansing began accepting applications in November 2017, 20 dispensaries will receive city approval. An additional five will be approved under Phase 2.

The city's goal is to have 25 operating provisioning centers that will "provide the best service to their patients, operate safely in our neighborhoods, employ Lansing residents at a fair wage and provide an increased tax base for improving services across the city," Swope said in the release.

The city's medical marijuana ordinance gives Swope the authority to adjust the implementation of Phase 2.

Phase 1 of the application process will end once all denied applicants have exhausted their two-step appeals process, which is currently set to be completed at the March 15 meeting of the state's Medical Marijuana commission. 

However, the deadline could be extended if applicants who are conditionally approved or pending are later denied, as they will have a chance to go through the same appeals process.

"In this case we are able to use knowledge to make changes which should provide maximum benefit to our city and speed up the review process, while still working within the parameters set by the ordinance," Swope said. "Although the start of Phase 2 is at least a month away, we want potential applicants to be aware of the changes."

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