Cannabis companies camp outside Riverview City Hall, hope to score licenses

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 23:25:11-05

RIVERVIEW, Mich. (WXYZ) — Cannabis companies gunning for a marijuana license in Riverview are taking the competition to the next level.

This city amended an existing ordinance that barred any marijuana businesses and establishments from operating within city limits. They then replaced it with a new ordinance that allows cannabis businesses.

It was passed on a 4 to 3 vote.

Five vendors have set up tents outside city hall hoping to get their applications early and ultimately score approval.

Kinship Cannabis Company, a local vendor, is leading the pack.

"To be the first was definitely imperative for us," Andrew Curtis said.

Curtis says the men camping out are foot soldiers of Kinship Cannabis Company. Through freezing rain and even snow, they've stayed committed to the cause.

"Everyone was excited," Curtis said.

City officials say they've gotten hundreds of online inquiries, but what really matters is the order of in-person submissions. The reason is because the ordinance states no cannabis business can be situated closer than 300 feet from each other.

"That right there kind of explains the people in line because if you're no. 1 and you turn in your application and no 2. is 150 feet next to you, that's going to cause a problem," Norton said.

The ordinance also says the businesses can't be situated closer than 300 feet to residential areas, religious institutions and parks and recreation centers.

Riverview City Councilman Chuck Norton says the decision to issue licenses has been controversial.

"We as group (city council), we are just trying the best things possible to keep taxes down," Norton said.

Businesses have to meet two important criteria to get their application approved: They have to hold a state license and have the dispensary location picked out beforehand.

"Because basically, it's only on the west side of Fort Street because we want a 300-foot buffer between residential," Norton said.

He also says creating a number system before applications opened would have avoided anyone having to set up camp outside of city hall.

Curtis says they've dealt with harassment from residents. One altercation took place on New Year's Eve.

"Definitely glad it's going to be over," Curtis said.

Friday, it will be time to break down camp. Curtis says they have one mission.

"There's a lot of people out here that aren't happy, but the best thing we can do is show them it's not what they think it is," Curtis said.

Licenses are set to be issued Friday at 9 a.m.

If all goes as planned, Kinship Cannabis Company will open in the old Slip Mahoney's building on Fort Street come summer. They also plan to hire roughly 60 people.