New Baltimore City Council Approves Marijuana License Transfer

January 31st, 2024 Business & Industry Ryan Spegal
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In New Baltimore, the landscape of the marijuana business is witnessing a significant change with the transition of ownership of Cloud Cannabis Co. The New Baltimore City Council, in a narrow vote of 3-2 on January 22nd, sanctioned a medical and recreational marijuana application from Stash Ventures LLC, which is set to become the new proprietor of Cloud Cannabis. This company is recognized for its substantial presence in Michigan, operating close to a dozen dispensaries, including one on Cricklewood Boulevard in New Baltimore.

Doug Manson, representing Stash Ventures LLC, emphasized that the visible aspects of the business, such as the branding, structural design, and overall appearance, would remain unchanged post-acquisition. "The Cloud name and the physical attributes of the facility will stay the same, ensuring a seamless transition for customers," Manson stated. He further explained that the primary alteration would be in the ownership, largely invisible to the public.

The process of ownership transfer is contingent on local and state approval, as elucidated by Manson. He noted that the state of Michigan does not directly transfer licenses but instead issues new licenses concurrently with the rescission of existing ones. The completion of the state application depends on the city council's endorsement.

Manson also mentioned that a state inspection is anticipated following the finalization of the application. The city officials will be notified of any discrepancies found during this inspection. However, he anticipates minimal issues given the business's history of passing previous inspections.

The council meeting saw an extended debate on the application process. Council member Ryan Covert remarked on the novelty of such a transfer for the council, emphasizing their aim for consistency in handling these applications. Some council members, including Jacob Dittrich and Jason Harvey, expressed a desire for a more rigorous review process for transfer applications, akin to the procedure for new applications. They highlighted the need for greater familiarity with the new owners and their operations.

Comparisons were drawn between this application and a liquor license transfer. City Attorney Tim Tomlinson pointed out similarities in the operational processes, underscoring the necessity for compliance with legal requirements. He also commented on the ongoing consolidation trend within the industry, noting the larger scale of operations of companies like Stash Ventures LLC and their adherence to legal standards.

Nonetheless, Dittrich called for increased oversight, citing the relative novelty of marijuana licenses compared to liquor licenses. Mayor Tom Semaan and Tomlinson addressed the procedural aspects, suggesting possible amendments to the current ordinance for future transfers.

The approval of the application was motioned by council member David Duffy and supported by Mel Eason, while Harvey and Dittrich opposed. Mayor Pro-Tem Flo Hayman was not present for the vote.

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