Michigan Town To Charge Marijuana Dispensaries $2,000 Fee


Photo: David Guralnick/The Detroit News
Co-owner Matt Curtis talks about the 15 to 20 varieties of marijuana sold at Clinical Relief LLC, a medical marijuana dispensary in Ferndale, Mich. The business’s client base grew to more than 1,000, according to owners, before police raids shut the place down last month. Now the City Council wants to charge a $2K per year “licensing fee.”

​So, Ferndale, what’s it gonna be — raid ’em or tax ’em? Because it’s a little unseemly to do both.

Owners of any new medical marijuana dispensaries that want to open in the city of Ferndale, Michigan will have to pay a $2,000 fee for their license and annual renewals. That may not sound like the best of news, but could taxation mean an end to police raids like the one which closed down the city’s only dispensary last month? 

The City Council enacted the “licensing fee” last week, and officials claimed they did so to “recover the costs” associated with inspections and other duties city workers and police conduct for licensing, reports Michael P. McConnell of the Oakland County Daily Tribune.

Graphic: Towleroad
Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey: “We can change the fee at any time, not to be punitive but to recoup our own costs”

​Mayor Craig Covey said he not only has no problem charging the fee, but that the cost may be hiked in the future.
“We can change the fee at any time,” the Mayor said, “not to be punitive but to recoup our own costs.”
Some communities charge up to $5,000 a year for licensing marijuana facilities, according to Councilwoman Melanie Piani.
“I think we are going to see other cities go to that range,” Piani said.
The $2,000 fee was suggested by Ferndale City Clerk Cherilynn Tallman after reviewing the work different city departments do in processing documents and making inspections of the marijuana businesses.
Tallman estimated city workers would have to spend about 32 hours on tasks to complete a marijuana facility license.
The dispensary fee is the highest the city charges for any business license “because it will require more staff to administer,” Tallman claimed.
Ferndale only has one dispensary. Clinical Relief on Hilton began selling marijuana in June, but has not done so since some of its owners and employees were charged with illegal sales and growing.
The charges came after Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies raided marijuana facilities and homes in Waterford, Lake Orion, Royal Oak, Ferndale and Macomb County last month. About 10 of the roughly 20 people charged in the multiple raids are due for a hearing Monday, September 20, in Ferndale 43rd District Court.
Clinical Relief opened before the medical marijuana licensing fee was passed, but will have to pay it now that the fee has been enacted by ordinance, according to City Manager Robert Bruner.