During his interview with representatives from Royal Oak last year, City Manager Paul Brake described himself as a patient person, among other things.
That’s a good thing when you consider that Brake’s office oversees the screening of all applicants for marijuana companies applying for licenses to operate in the city.
The application deadline is Monday, 11:59 p.m. And by Thursday afternoon – after almost two months of openness to accepting applications – not a single applicant had submitted a submission to Brake.
Still, officials can sense that there is a lot of interest from recreational cannabis entrepreneurs to open in Royal Oak.
“We will probably receive more applications than licenses are available,” said Brake. “We assume that there will be interest in (marijuana) retail and micro-businesses.”
The city only allows two retail licenses and two for micro-businesses that combine retail sales with small-scale growth and processing functions. Only two of these retail stores are permitted to operate in the city’s commercial zone along Woodward Avenue.
The other two pot retailers, if approved, will have to locate in industrial zones designated by the city for marijuana growers, processors, testing and security companies, and transportation companies.
Todd Fenton, manager of economic development at Royal Oak, said the city created a legal framework for what the majority of city voters wanted.
“There is a very large pool of applicants and a very competitive environment,” he said. “There are a limited number of municipal (marijuana) licensing agencies. Royal Oak is a desirable place to start business, not just marijuana stores.
Brake was asked by marijuana businessmen about the criteria the city uses to judge applications, but he declined.
“I can’t do this until the application is complete and the (applicant) must be a company with a good reputation with the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency,” Brake said.
Similarly, the city commissioners passed a policy last summer prohibiting anyone but the city administrator from having individual contact with applicants for marijuana companies.
Commissioner Melanie Macey launched the policy effort in the interests of transparency, saying she wanted the commissioners to be free from lobbying by applicants.
Brake expects it will take one to three months to review all applications.
Applicants approved and assessed by the city administrator must apply to the city planning commission for approval of the site plan and obtain a special land use permit, which the city commission decides on in a public vote.
Royal Oak has been open to applying for marijuana business licenses on the city’s website at romi.gov/1528/Recreational-Marihuana-Establishment-App since December 7th
As soon as the window closes on Monday, the city will review all applications for licenses.
If there are more applications than licenses available for each type of marijuana facility, the city will evaluate the applications on a competitive basis.