The Ferndale City Council received a report on its marijuana establishments at its March 8 meeting. The city detailed the current status of its retailers, such as Green Buddha Cannabis, and the future businesses that will open this year. Other businesses mentioned in the report include Gage Cannabis Co. and LIV Ferndale.

The Ferndale City Council received a report on its marijuana establishments at its March 8 meeting. The city detailed the current status of its retailers, such as Green Buddha Cannabis, and the future businesses that will open this year. Other businesses mentioned in the report include Gage Cannabis Co. and LIV Ferndale.

File photo by Mike Koury


Ferndale hasn’t had safety issues with marijuana retailers, report says

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published March 25, 2021

Advertisement

FERNDALE — At its March 8 meeting, the Ferndale City Council received a report on the current status of marijuana facilities and businesses in town.

According to City Planner Justin Lyons, the city is required to give a report to council regarding the types and limits of marijuana facilities allowed under its ordinance within six months after the opening and operation of a marijuana facility or provisioning center. The report he delivered also included details regarding the existing facilities in Ferndale.

Back in April of 2020, Ferndale approved three marijuana retail applications and amended its ordinance to increase the number of medical marijuana provisioning centers from three to five. Those three retailers are LIV Ferndale, Gage Cannabis Co. and Green Buddha Cannabis Co.

There also have been two medical marijuana provisioning centers under construction at 642 E. Nine Mile Road and 925 E. Drayton St., and Ferndale received a marijuana safety compliance facility application for a testing lab at 2321 Wolcott St.

In working with community and economic development staff and the city’s Police and Fire departments, Lyons said that since those three marijuana retailers opened, there really have not been “any observed issues related to safety, security or code enforcement.”

“There were a total of 164 total calls to the Police Department, but no license compliancy issues, no real enforcements, there really weren’t any concerns from the Police Department on that front,” he said. “The facilities have obviously, just like other businesses, been operating under the pandemic since last spring, and so those facilities were given permission from the state of Michigan to operate with drive-thru services. And so, if you’ve seen that sort of setup at the different facilities around town, that’s sort of where that came to be.”

Regarding the calls to the department, Police Chief Dennis Emmi told the Woodward Talk that they’re labeled as calls for service, but many of those can be self-initiated. According to police, 95% of the calls, which have been tracked since Jan. 1, 2020, were officer-generated checks.

“Because it’s called calls for service, it doesn’t mean we’re necessarily called to a location,” he said. “It could mean an officer just doing a routine business check and they enter it as just a business check but it’s considered a call for service, though it’s not originating from any type of complaint. So they could be a little misleading the way the data is titled, but we haven’t had anything that would … require any kind of action.”

Emmi said the department’s experiences with the retailers and provisioning centers have been professional and positive.

“They’re very well organized,” he said. “Their security has been pretty impressive actually. … How efficiently and thoughtful they operate their businesses. Outside of being a little busy (causing traffic), they haven’t had any adverse reactions to the neighborhoods that they’re in.”

The marijuana retailers are required to provide Ferndale with an annual financial statement. From April 1, 2019, to March 30, 2020, for LIV Ferndale, it had 22 total employees and brought in $2,258,595; Gage Cannabis had 26 total employees and revenue of $6,876,637; and Green Buddha had seven total employees and received $530,478.

Lyons said the city expects the two provisioning centers to open by May 11 and for the safety compliance facility to open sometime before Nov. 23.

In a comment given before the report was delivered, Katie Kurlyandchik, a resident of Ferndale, said the city had cemented itself as a local leader in marijuana, but felt that as a city that has been built on small businesses, she didn’t see that reflected in the current cannabis offerings.

“With that idea of strengthening our small businesses, I think that it’s important to allow a set amount of micro businesses to operate within our city borders,” she said. “Thanks to the lower cost of entry, a micro business license would allow local entrepreneurs like myself to enter this market, the adult-use cannabis market, and retain Ferndale’s reputation as a community built on unique, locally owned small businesses.”

As someone who runs a small business online that she said is aimed at destigmatizing cannabis use, especially among women, and also as a medical marijuana caregiver, Kurlyandchik hopes to start her own cannabis micro business in Ferndale.

“As a woman, I think that the cannabis industry is definitely a male-driven industry and we’d want to see more diversity, not only in our city, but in this industry as well,” she said. “I am committed to this business and I would love to have the opportunity to open it in the same community that I call home.”

Advertisement