An Article from The Oakland Press:
Township board approval means sales may start soon
By PEG MCNICHOL | firstname.lastname@example.org |
PUBLISHED: August 1, 2023 at 9:02 a.m. | UPDATED: August 1, 2023 at 10:05 a.m.
Three marijuana retailers have been approved to add recreational sales to existing medical sales in Waterford Township. It could save the businesses, according to the owners.
Township trustees approved the change on Thursday for Planet 59, 4641 Highland Road; Golden Rockies Inc./Moses Roses, 5806 Dixie Hwy.; and Quality Roots Inc, 1700 Tull Court.
A fourth company, MJ Highland, 2060 Dixie Hwy., applied for the recreational permit but then withdrew because the company needed another state document, said Jeffrey Polkowski, the township’s superintendent of planning and zoning.
“Only about 3% of the market is medical now,” said Dave George, co-founder of Planet 59. “Now that we have recreational, we can sell to any adult 21 years and older with a state ID.”
George makes a living as a landlord but said he formed the D and R Investment Group to open the retail marijuana business as a new line of work. George lives in Commerce Township which does not allow such sales so he chose Waterford.
The next step for each facility is to get a state license to sell recreational marijuana, he said, adding that Planet 59 will likely start recreational sales before the end of August.
Golden Rockies/Moses Roses co-owner Chris Aiello, a Warren-based attorney, started filling out paperwork for the required state approval as soon as possible to speed up the application process.
“After you open six or seven stores you get to know the process,” he said. The company has locations in Lincoln Park, Berkley, Port Huron Detroit and Gaylord.
Polkowski said Planet 59 and Golden Rockies rehabilitated empty buildings that had stood empty for years. Quality Roots is in a new building that owner Aric Klar said represents a $2.5 million investment in the township
Waterford limited medical licenses to six, with township trustees agreeing to grant recreational permits to those six. Two dispensaries have not yet opened.
Aiello said his company also has site plan approval to open a medical dispensary in Pontiac, but that project won’t move forward until after a citywide referendum on recreational marijuana in November. In the meantime, he estimates the Pontiac investment is losing well over $10,000 a day in potential sales. He said he’d like to see state lawmakers streamline marijuana rules.
“It’s ugly … most municipalities exceed state requirements,” he said. “They need to create one level of bureaucracy.”
“Recreational marijuana is a very competitive market,” Aiello said. “We don’t know any more what’s going to happen in Pontiac. We’re leaving it to voters.”
He said he’s focused on promoting the Waterford Township location.
Klar said without a recreational marijuana license, Quality Roots wouldn’t be able to succeed in Waterford. He expects to have the final state permit sometime between Aug. 18 and 21. Quality Roots has a dozen other locations in southeast Michigan with five other dispensaries in Oakland County. Klar expects to open his next dispensary in Madison Heights in late November.
“We have 25 people already hired for that location and they’re being trained at other locations,” Klar said. “We’re very excited to earn everybody’s trust and validation. Now we’re going to prove to the board they made the right choice.”
He had applied for a permit to operate a shop on Telegraph Road in Pontiac but said he is excited to move forward in Waterford.
“I’m not thinking of Pontiac today. My heart is in Waterford,” he said.
Waterford offers a strategic location because several adjacent communities are not allowing any marijuana sales, he said.
“As a small business owner, it really excites me to think about bringing 10,000 to 15,000 new people to the township every month. I plan to work with the chamber of commerce … and I think the family-run restaurant next door, El Patio, is going to get a lot more traffic on Taco Tuesdays.”