Distance allowed between stores motivates line-sitting
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – A tent city sprung up in front of city hall last week, as hopeful recreational marijuana vendors recognized that the distance allowed between physical store locations will limit later applicants.
The application process was scheduled to begin Jan. 6, and by Jan. 3, at least half a dozen hopefuls were in line, with tents, hunting blinds and awnings to provide some relief from the cold and rain.
Riverview Mayor Andrew Swift said that an applicant’s position in line was critical.
“Dispensaries cannot be within 300 feet of each other,” he said. “So, when there is a conflict and two buildings are within 300 feet, the dispensary with the lower number will likely get the license.”
Swift said he was not aware of any specific store locations whose footprints might overlap.
The Kinship Cannabis Company was first in line, establishing a presence in late December.
Former City Councilman Bill Towle said the recreational marijuana dispensary permits should be issued on a competitive basis, not based on who is first in line.
During public comment time during the Jan. 3 City Council meeting, resident Peter Podolski expressed his concern about the hygiene challenges encountered by an impromptu line of entrenched applicants. He also expressed concern that people who showed up to question the line sitters were allegedly asked to leave and said that some residents were videotaped against their wishes.
Linda Podolski expressed concern that the first entity in line had already purchased a building and was motivated to secure its eligibility. She spoke of the shantytown appearance of the line and predicted that permits awarded on the basis of position in line could provoke lawsuits from entities that didn’t want to camp out.
Police Lt. Bob Bemis said on Jan. 5 that he was unaware of any problems with the people in the line or with others interacting with them.