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City of Billings ready to issue medical marijuana business licenses

Montana Advanced Caregivers.jpg
Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 13, 2022

Billings voters put a stop to recreational marijuana sales within city limits in November, and also made it much harder for medical marijuana suppliers to set up shop in town.

As the deadline is for new licenses is six weeks away, there has not been a single application.

Those in the industry say the high costs of the business license is part of the reason no one has applied.

There is some agreement from the businesses and the city that another reason is the challenge of meeting the requirements.

Montana Advanced Caregivers (MAC) has been in the medical marijuana business since 2009.

It has one location in Billings, and three others outside the city limits in Yellowstone County.

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KTVQ photo

"Our locations that sit in the county have no licensing requirement from the county," said Rich Abromeit, MAC co-owner and C.E.O.

Abromeit said he will need to apply for three city business licenses: medical marijuana dispensary, marijuana cultivator and marijuana manufacturer, each costing nearly $4,000 for a total of nearly $12,000.

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KTVQ photo

"The fee structure was determined based upon an estimated number of businesses that we thought may apply to locate within city limits," said Andy Zoeller, city of Billings finance director. "This is just based upon looking at other cities all around the country where marijuana is legal."

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The finance department oversees the issuing of business licenses.

Zoeller said some costs would be for code enforcement officers to conduct fire and building inspections, check enhanced filtration systems and make sure areas are secure.

"We have yet to have anybody apply at this point in time," Zoeller said. "But I think because there are there's a lot of requirements to get in place before they apply."

"These applications, there's a lot entailed in into them," Abromeit said. "So we're just making sure that we have the right criteria and the correct information."

Up to eight will be given a medical marijuana dispensary license.

Abromeit expects his company to be the only one applying, while Zoeller anticipates seeing some applications by the March 31 deadline.