The Pinckney Village Council revisited the budgets, plans, and project goals for the development of Livingston County’s first licensed marijuana establishment. The project has been in the works since the village first granted the Means Project– a Howell-based startup– the necessary licensing in 2021.
The Village of Pinckney has numerous restrictions in place regarding the creation of marijuana establishments. Per a 2020 ordinance, the Village has the ability to authorize a limited amount of state-licensed establishments, including:
- Marihuana Safety Compliance Facility – one (1) license
- Marihuana Secure Transporter – one (1) license
- Marihuana Microbusiness – one (1) license
- Marihuana Retailer -one (1) license
- Marihuana Processor – one (1) license
- Marihuana Grower (any class) — one (1) license
Three potential licensees– QPS Michigan Holdings, Lume Cannabis, and The Means Project– all sought authorization from the Village of Pinckney. The applicants were assessed in terms of business experience and plans, licenses, and site plans, while also factoring in how the business would benefit the community.
The Means Project was the only one of the three applicants to exceed the minimum requirements for consideration, receiving the maximum possible score from local officials. The Means Project was originally granted the licenses necessary to grow, process, and sell marijuana in 2021.
Lume Cannabis Co. has stated that its goal is to have 100 stores across the state by the end of 2024. The Troy-based cannabis conglomerate experienced exponential growth over 2021 with the addition of 15 new facilities, but its progress stagnated the following year.
In 2022, only two stores opened while another four were permanently closed. Currently, there are 32 Lume locations across Michigan. Given their expansionist ideals, it’s unsurprising that Lume protested Pinckney’s decision to grant the licenses to The Means Project.
The Means Project was developed to be a means of supporting those with disabilities. In an interview with Livingston Daily, Chris Bonk proposed that profits from the company will go towards funding a group home for adults with disabilities, with a certain percentage directed towards local non-profits with the ultimate goal of aiding the community. The Howell-based organization has been working to rehabilitate the abandoned Pinckney Elementary School for use as Livingston County’s first authorized marijuana distributor.
While the renovations and reconstruction are proceeding as planned, Bonk explained to the Pinckney Village Council that the estimated cost was substantially higher than initially approximated. Bonk stated that the costs were “out of control” and “way more than [he’d] expected.” The primary issue is the cost associated with fire suppression and connecting the facility to the central water main.
“We thought [this project] was going to cost $5 to $7 million… and now we’re looking at well over $12 million, and then spending $300,000 on a water extension. We’re getting no money from banks on this; a lot of it’s coming from the stock market,” Bonk told the council. “It’s just not doable for us to come up with that kind of cash right now.”
As of April 2022, Bonk had already invested over $2 million into the project.
Bonk asked the council to consider conducting a tax assessment or instituting a long-term investment plan to be paid off over time.
“I highly doubt that the village would want this whole project to be flushed down the toilet because we couldn’t come up with another $400,000 to $500,000 for a water main extension that we really don’t need to do our project,” he elaborated, adding that connecting to the city’s water main was not a contractual obligation in the licensing agreement.
The Pinckney Village Council ultimately agreed to gather more information on the matter before making a decision. The council will next meet on April 24th.