2018-04-15 / Front Page

First dispensary applicant plans to spend $1.5M on Lapeer business

BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan@mihomepaper.com


Lapeer City Clerk Donna Cronce accepts a medical marijuana dispensary application and a money order for $5,000 from Warren attorney Chris Aiello. 
Photo by Jeff Hogan Lapeer City Clerk Donna Cronce accepts a medical marijuana dispensary application and a money order for $5,000 from Warren attorney Chris Aiello. Photo by Jeff Hogan LAPEER — A Warren attorney on Tuesday submitted the first application for one of six medical marijuana dispensary licenses to be issued in Lapeer.

Representing his brother and several other described deep-pocket investors from Macomb County, Chris Aiello said it’s their hope to be the first to open a dispensary at a property located on East Genesee between Saginaw and Court streets. Located in what is now a small and narrow retail building between Hungry Dan’s restaurant and Thick’s Glass, Aiello said his client intends to completely renovate the approximate 1,850-square-foot building that now contains a cellular phone retailer and phone repair shop. An artist’s rendering shows the exterior with a brick block and glass façade.


(Above) An artist’s rendering shows what a proposed medical marijuana dispensary at a location on East Genesee might look like. Right, as the building looks now. (Above) An artist’s rendering shows what a proposed medical marijuana dispensary at a location on East Genesee might look like. Right, as the building looks now. The proposed medical marijuana dispensary would be called Lapeer Infused. Aiello said if his clients are granted a dispensary license, the facility would employ as many as 20 people and would be open seven days a week to sell marijuana buds, edibles, oils, vape pens and accessories.

Lapeer ordinance restricts hours for dispensaries from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“We think it’s a great market, a great community and are very excited to be considered for a license here,” Aiello said. “Now that Almont is out, that leaves Lapeer the only community in around here. We’re interested in bringing a beautiful, clean and safe building to Lapeer where people will feel comfortable to purchase their medicine. We think we can bring 100 people a day to the business, and they’re going to get gas while they’re in town, they’re going to get something to eat or else shop in local stores.”

The Macomb County businessmen interested in setting up shop in Lapeer already have one medical marijuana dispensary open.

The River Provisioning opened Feb. 26 on Front Street in downtown Chesaning. In an effort to ease any fears local residents may have harbored, the Chesaning store held a two-day open house to allow curious neighbors to explore the center and question the staff. Turnout was better than expected.

Aiello’s clients also have applications in Lenox (between Richmond and New Haven in northern Macomb County) as well as for one to three retail stores in Warren. They currently have seven medical marijuana grow facilities in Warren. The partners are also interested in the Lansing market for two dispensary locations, and they’re optimistic that Clinton Township in Macomb County may opt-in to allow medical marijuana business there as well.

The City of Lapeer’s decision to go with a merit-based application process was to attract only serious candidates that have proven business smarts and the financial wherewithal to invest significant money into property, product and marketing.

“In order to apply for a license an applicant must have a building or property to open a business. “We’re not accepting anyone without those two things, because that shows they’re serious versus just being interested in doing something,” said Cronce.

Individuals interested in opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Lapeer have until Friday (April 20) to submit their 65-question application along with a $5,000 filing fee.

Not a single application was received the first week of the filing period.

Lapeer Clerk Donna Cronce expects this week to be extremely busy. “We’re still getting quite a few phone calls from people looking for more information, so I expect we’ll have quite a few more (applications) by next Friday,” said Cronce on Tuesday.

Once the application period closes, a threeperson panel will review and score the applications. The panel will have from April 23 to May 11 to complete the scoring process. The top-scoring six applicants will be awarded a license, provided they satisfy the State of Michigan’s extensive screening process as well. In the event of a tie between top-scoring applicants their names will be entered in a blind-draw lottery to settle the question.

Cronce said it’s possible the medical marijuana dispensary licenses could be announced at a Lapeer City Commission meeting on May 29.

Lapeer did not set any limits on the number of grow facilities, secure transporters, processors and compliance and testing facilities that can operate in the city. Those business applications are also being accepted.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-04-15 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.