Saline Considers Allowing Curbside Cannabis Pickup at Dispensaries

March 5th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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Saline is on the brink of making a decision that could enhance convenience for cannabis consumers by potentially allowing dispensaries to provide curbside service. This consideration comes amid a current absence of specific guidelines for curbside sales at local dispensaries, placing the decision in the hands of the Saline City Council.

Recently, on March 4th, the city council took a preliminary step by acknowledging draft regulations that would permit curbside cannabis pickup. A definitive vote on the matter is scheduled for the council's next session on March 18th. Currently, the majority of dispensaries in Saline, despite having city approval or being operational, are restricted from offering curbside pickup due to conditions in their site plans awaiting the city's formal stance on the service. This restriction is highlighted by the situation at Rush Cannabis, the city's inaugural dispensary, which is located on West Michigan Avenue.

Under the proposed curbside service, the process that currently requires customers to enter the store to verify their IDs, pay, and collect their orders would shift to the parking lot. This would involve a salesperson, accompanied by security, using a mobile ID scanner to complete transactions outside the store. Shaun Mansour, owner of Rush Cannabis, emphasized the benefits of such a service, noting its convenience and the privacy it offers customers, particularly on inclement weather days or for those seeking discretion due to their professional lives.

The city's planning department has noted a lack of extensive regulation of curbside cannabis pickup by other cities, with most allowing it. For instance, Ann Arbor made clarifications to its city rules in 2022 to expressly permit this convenience. Saline's planners believe the current zoning code supports curbside pickup in commercial districts but suggest that explicit approval is necessary due to existing site plan restrictions for cannabis retailers.

The proposed guidelines would allow dispensaries to have up to five curbside pickup spots in their parking lots, with no anticipated traffic or parking issues according to city Community Development Director Ben Harrington. Mansour also reassured the city council that the introduction of curbside service is unlikely to cause any significant increase in traffic or inconvenience.

The discussion on curbside pickup is set to continue, with Saline Mayor Brian Marl expecting a thorough debate at the March 18th city council meeting. The council is also keen on community feedback, as highlighted by Council Member Nicole Rice, who also pointed to the significant state marijuana tax revenue contribution from local dispensaries, underscoring the importance of supporting local businesses.

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