Michigan cities that have opted in to allow adult-use cannabis dispensaries were the beneficiaries of $42.2 million, or 30% of the roughly $141 million in cannabis tax revenue generated statewide in fiscal 2021.
Traverse City, where roughly 16,000 people reside in the northwestern part of the state, could gain access to that shared fund in 2022.
The city’s planning commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. April 5 to review a drafted policy proposing to allow adult-use cannabis retailers in nine commercially zoned districts, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.
The proposed areas would allow anywhere from two to four licensed dispensaries per district, but retail facilities couldn’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school or publicly owned land, or in underdeveloped areas, per state law, according to the news outlet.
While the cumulative maximum number of dispensaries allowed in the proposed areas is 22, Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe—who sat on the ad hoc committee that worked on the ordinance—is recommending a citywide limit of eight to 10 cannabis retailers, The Ticker reported.
A separate ordinance to define that citywide limit will be reviewed by the city commissioners at one of its upcoming meetings in the next month.
“They might disagree and want fewer or more,” Shamroe told The Ticker. “But the suggested ordinance gives us some place to start the discussion.”
The number of adult-use dispensaries the city plans to allow has been a subject of litigation.
Specifically, some of the owners of the 13 medical cannabis dispensaries in Traverse City sued the city over previous plans to limit the number of adult-use dispensaries to four, the news outlet reported. The retail owners argued that current medical cannabis operators who don’t receive an expanded license would no longer be competitive in the local market.
While 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power ruled that the city can set a lower limit for adult-use licenses than for medical licenses, he did order city officials to rewrite their original scoring rubric, the Record-Eagle reported.
But medical cannabis business owners are now appealing the former part of that decision.
Despite the appeal, Shamroe told The Ticker she hopes to move forward on the adult-use retail licensing process in the upcoming months.
“My personal goal, barring any lawsuits keeping us from doing it, is that we would be issuing permits this summer,” Shamroe said.
Traverse City is the county seat of Grand Traverse County, although a small portion of the city extends into Leelanau County to the northwest.
In fiscal 2021, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties had zero adult-use cannabis dispensaries participating the Michigan’s licensed retail program, according to the state’s Marihuana Retailers Excise Tax report.