November 23, 2017

Au Gres Twp. to hold hearings on first medical marijuana applications

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Au GRES TWP. — It’s been about six weeks since a medical marijuana facilities ordinance was approved by the Au Gres Township Board, and 12 applications have been filed to operate facilities in the township.

Two public hearings will be held in regards to the applications, with six applications discussed Nov. 13 and another six Nov. 20.

Township Clerk Michael Oxley said per the township zoning ordinance, each applicant is being treated as a special use permit. He said any time a special use permit is considered by the township, property owners within 300 feet have to be notified and given a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns, opposition or support for the permits.

“They have to be able to meet the requirements and have those requirements approved by the planning commission before there is any certification allowed in the township,” Oxley said.

Each applicant being discussed during the hearings is unique, although some are under the same applicant’s name. For instance, KTC Industries, LLC is listed five times as an applicant in public notices advertising the hearings, but Oxley said each application had to be filed separately. Three of KTC’s applications will be heard Nov. 13, and are all the same address, but each one is different — a grower, a processing facility and a provisioning center.

Oxley said each facility type required a separate application. Oxley said each application is $500, meaning the township has thus far generated $6,000 in application fee revenue. Applications cover an array of subjects, including security cameras, odor control and product disposal, Oxley said.

“The application is very detailed,” he said. “They can’t just come in and say, ‘I want to do this.’ They have to show us a plan. Every application is considered a special use permit according to zoning. You have to have a site plan review that shows the building, the power and all that.”

Even if the township approves the 12 applications scheduled to be heard this month, Oxley said those looking to do business will still have to wait and take additional steps with the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

“Getting a permit to do this is going to be as difficult as getting a liquor license,” he said. “The same organization is handing out these licenses. They’re going to be checking out the background of everybody. So what we are doing is giving a thumbs up to the state basically saying, ‘If you license this person, we’ll allow them to do this in our township.’”

The $500 fee is not all the township would stand to gain in revenue. Oxley said per the ordinance, any medical marijuana operation would also have to pay a $5,000 annual fee to the township. Using the earlier example of KTC Industries, that would mean $25,000 in operating fees to the township if all five applications are approved and licensed. A 3 percent tax on the products would also be collected by the state and distributed to municipalities in which the facilities are operating, Oxley said.

Along with the fees and costs of establishing a medical marijuana operation, applicants will also have to wait until Dec. 15, which is the date Oxley said LARA would begin processing applications for permits. He said the state is hoping to cut down on fly-by-night operations and make sure people opening dispensaries or other facilities are serious and following the law.

“It will actually put the control on it that has been lost since the caregiver law has gone into effect,” he said.

The Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 public hearings are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Au Gres Township Hall.

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Connie O.

To the people of AuGres Township you had better be prepared for 12 sites selling marijuana. The real question is do we want to be known as the medical marijuana mall? No other township in this county has even considered this--they are smart!! By doing this the Township Board has put our homes and peace of mind in jeopardy. Please let the township know how you feel, NOW.3

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