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Berkley approves point system for marijuana business licenses

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 11, 2020

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BERKLEY — After several delays, the Berkley City Council approved its merit-point system for marijuana business licenses.

The council adopted its point system at its Feb. 3 meeting. It was last evaluated during a special meeting Jan. 23, where the system was all but finalized before the council decided to hold off to review one specific merit-based criterion.

As City Manager Matt Baumgarten recounted, the other 25 criteria had been locked in by the end of the special meeting, but a section of the highest-rated criteria needed to be reviewed.

The criterion is worth 26 points but features sub-scores that add to the total. The language discussed was for a sub score worth 16 points that asked that an applicant demonstrate the ability to successfully operate a marijuana business by means of a “supply chain with state-verified cultivation facility, with certification that adequate supply will be readily available for sales upon the anticipated opening date of the marihuana business. (Requires cultivation to submit affidavit affirming supply levels.)”

“The intent here was to make sure that (businesses) could show that they were working with a state-licensed cultivator and that that product was what was ultimately going to be on the shelves — per their business plan — when this retail operation opens,” Baumgarten said.

The quoted language was changed during the meeting. It now reads that an applicant “has a supply with a state-licensed cultivation facility.”

“The goal of this item is to ensure that we have the highest-quality operators with safe, state-tested supply,” Mayor Pro Tem Bridget Dean said. “It doesn’t do us any good to have an operator that can’t open or to have an operator that is not using state-certified supply, which cannot be verified if the supply only comes from caregivers.”

It was clarified by council that, while it wants to know from the applicant what grower the applicant is working with at the point of application, the council knows that a business’s potential vendor could change. Baumgarten said the city still wants to make sure that an applicant has at least gotten that far in the process.

Councilman Jack Blanchard said he thinks that any applicant that has a good business plan is going to include that detail.

“All we’re asking for is that, if you’ve got a supply set up in your business plan, that you’re using a state-licensed facility,” he said. “I think it’s pretty simple.”

The metric was approved by council with a 6-0 vote. Baumgarten noted that Berkley is looking to start accepting business applications by March 16.

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