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No Marijuana Licenses Approved By State Board In First Attempt

March 27, 2018

The first two medical marijuana facility applicants to go before the state’s licensing board didn’t fare well Thursday, as both walked away with no license.

Roughly three months after people could first begin submitting applications to be licensed to run a medical marijuana facility, the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) decided to table its decision on one applicant Thursday and failed to get the votes to approve another applicant. 

The MMLB splintered into two factions, one led by MMLB member Don Bailey, who wanted to remove the two applicants from consideration because of prior convictions. He was joined in voting for the most part by MMLB Chair Rick Johnson. 

Bailey said the omission of these offenses from the application is what did it for him, and after the meeting he told MIRS there was an attempt to explain the omissions, which he said “was not done adequately.” 

But another faction of the board, led by MMLB member David LaMontaine and Nichole Cover, expressed frustration with the other half of the board coming down hard on these applicants. 

Cover said the board is going to have “a long year if we scrutinize every single applicant.” 

“I just don’t think that we want this to be our opening statement and our opening direction. We have to give people a chance,” she said. 

On the first applicant, LaMontaine noted this person filed an addendum explaining the situation, and that the offense “happened a significant time period ago,” and that he doesn’t think this is “adequate to hold against these folks.” 

With the fifth MMLB member, Vivian Pickard absent, the board split. 

LaMontaine motioned to have the first applicant approved, which was Greentransport Services Inc., a proposed secure transporter business based in Riverdale tied to individuals Michael Ray Densmore and Amy Sue Demsore

But that vote failed 2-2, with Bailey and Johnson voting no and Cover joining LaMontaine in support. 

On the next applicant, Bailey said a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana was found within the last five years, and that this applicant should be disqualified. 

Bailey said state law precludes the MMLB from granting a license to someone convicted of a misdemeanor related to controlled substances up to five years prior, or a felony within 10 years. He said any kind of arrest must be reported on these applications. 

The applicant was TJM Enterprises Services, a proposed dispensary based in Detroit tied to an individual named Timothy McGraw. 

LaMontaine motioned to approve the prequalification license for TJM, with support from Cover. 

But after the MMLB heard from staff that there’s a requirement to disclose anything that can be potentially disqualifying, Cover joined the other two no votes and LaMontaine ended up being the only yes vote to approve the prequalification. 

Bailey moved next to deny the application, which Cover seconded. LaMontaine then moved to table a decision on the TJM application, which Cover again supported, leading to some confusion over the process of which motion had to be heard first. 

After staff to the MMLB told the board they could move forward with the motion to table, that was approved, this time with Johnson voting yes and Bailey being the lone no vote. 

But both applicants could have another bite at the apple if they’re denied a license, thanks to the appeal process where they can request a “public investigative hearing” where they can establish by clear and convincing evidence their eligibility and suitability to have a license, said David Harns, spokesperson for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR). 

There were originally five applicants scheduled to be considered on the MMLB agenda today, but three were pulled off because the state wanted to provide additional information to the MMLB about those applicants and wanted to give the board members time to review it, said Andrew Brisbo, director of the BMMR. 

Asked what that information was, Brisbo said he could not say. The three applicants pulled off the agenda were referred to as Arbors Wellness, Arbor Farm 1 and Arbor Kitchen. 

Also at the meeting, Johnson asked Brisbo to get information about facility applicants to the MMLB members quicker. Johnson asked for information weeks in advance of a board meeting, saying he was up until 11 p.m. Wednesday going through information from the state prior to this meeting. Brisbo said the state provided information about the original five applications last Friday. 

Other news and notes from the MMLB meeting today: 

– Brisbo said the state has now delivered more than 200 cease-and-desist letters to operating marijuana businesses that didn’t apply before the state’s deadline. 

– There have been 411 prequalification applications submitted to the state for a medical marijuana facility, which represents step one of the process. Of the applications that have gone through the second step of the process, the facility type with the most applications in are dispensaries, with 57, followed by the largest grower license (up to 1,500 plants), with 46 applications in. 

– The state’s Medical Marihuana Review Panel will be considering 22 petitions wanting to add qualifying conditions to the approved list for medical marihuana patients during meetings scheduled for April 27 and May 4. 

– The BMMR has determined that the regulatory assessment charge for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 will be $0 for safety compliance facilities, $10,000 for the smallest grower license and $48,000 for every other facility license type.

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