Ferndale to charge fee for licensing medical marijuana facilities

By Michael P. McConnell, Daily Tribune Staff Writer.  Originally posted in Daily Tribune.com on Sept 17, 2010

FERNDALE — Owners of any new marijuana facilities that want to open in the city will now have to pay a $2,000 fee for their license and annual renewals.

The City Council enacted the licensing fee this week and officials said they did so to recoup the costs associated with inspections and other duties city workers and police conduct for licensing.

Mayor Craig Covey said he has no problem charging the fee and said the council may hike the cost in future years.

“We can change the fee at any time,” Covey said, “not to be punitive but to recoup our own costs.”

Councilwoman Melanie Piani said that some communities charge up to $5,000 annually for licensing marijuana facilities.

“I think we are going to see other cities go to that range,” she said.

Ferndale City Clerk Cherilynn Tallman suggested a $2,000 fee after reviewing the work different city departments do in processing documents and making inspections.

Tallman estimates city workers will have to spend about 32 hours on tasks to complete a marijuana facility license.

The fee is the highest the city charges for a license because it will require more staff time to administer, she said.

The city only has one medical marijuana business. 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 of marijuana. 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 in Ferndale 43rd District Court.

City Manger Robert Bruner said 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.

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