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Medical marijuana dispensary  in talks for Telegraph

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 11, 2020

 Wendy’s, the building at 28481 Telegraph Road, is in talks to become a medical marijuana dispensary.

Wendy’s, the building at 28481 Telegraph Road, is in talks to become a medical marijuana dispensary.

Map by Jason Clancy

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SOUTHFIELD — Right now, the building at 28481 Telegraph Road is serving up burgers, but it could soon switch to serving up buds.

At a Feb. 26 meeting, the Southfield Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve a special use request for Oak Flint LLC to establish a medical marijuana provisioning center at the site, which is currently a Wendy’s. Commissioner LaTina Denson was not at the meeting.

Jeff Spence, the assistant city planner, said that the petitioner is proposing to close down Wendy’s and open the medical marijuana provisioning center in its place.

The property is zoned B-3 general business, which is the only zone where medical marijuana provisioning centers are allowed in the city, Spence said.

Zoning for medical marijuana facilities was approved by the Southfield City Council in 2015.

“Obviously, any semblance of Wendy’s will be removed with a different color scheme and signage,” Spence said at the meeting.

John McLeod, the president of Oak Flint LLC, discussed the ins and outs of the facility at the meeting.

“So, let’s talk about an experience at a medical marijuana facility. At the start of this process, if you want to receive your medical marijuana card, you have to see a qualified doctor within the state,” he said.

Once you’re issued the card, McLeod said, you are allowed to enter a medical marijuana dispensary. McLeod said you must have the card with you and a medical reason to purchase the cannabis.

“The first thing when you enter the building is you are essentially in a man trap. In that room, you will present your valid medical marijuana card and valid state ID to security. Until you have been vetted by security on staff, you cannot enter or proceed any farther,” he said.

Once you’re checked in, a “budtender” — or a patient advocate — will come up to the front of the store to get you. It is required by state law, McLeod said, that there is a 1-1 ratio between patient advocates and customers, meaning people can’t just come and go, and each person will be escorted by a patient advocate the entire time.

McLeod said patients then discuss with the employee what their medical needs are and can purchase products such as gummies, transdermal patches or plain old maryjane.

The patient advocate will have an iPad that sends the patient’s order to the back of the establishment, where staff packs up the pre-packaged items.

“We don’t do deli-style, where you’re weighing it out in front of a patient. When a patient comes in, everything is pre-packaged, and when it leaves, it is, too. There’s no loose medicine lying around,” he said.

The patient is then rung up, pays and leaves the facility. It’s illegal to consume any of the products on-site or in the parking lot, and security will be on-site to make sure that is not taking place, McLeod said.

On average, patients will spend about 7-10 minutes in the store, with about 100 to 125 patients per day. The proposed hours of the facility are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.

City Planner Terry Croad said the planning team and McLeod are working closely with the Police Department to ensure the facility is safe.

“Both police and fire did preliminary reviews,” Croad said at the meeting. “We’re working closely with the senior Police Department team. We have a 25-point checklist for security that they’ll have to satisfy. Before they get their final approval from the City Council, we’ll have to have a sign-off from the Police Department that they meet the requirements.”

Croad said that, due to security concerns, he could not get into the details of the security plan.

No one spoke in opposition of the plan at the meeting.

The plan will be sent to the City Council for a final decision.

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