GRAND RAPIDS, MI — While some municipalities in Michigan are rushing to prohibit commercial marijuana establishments before the state sorts out its regulations, Grand Rapids is not one of them.
On Tuesday, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said Michigan’s second-largest city isn’t looking at opting out of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, citing local results from the Nov. 6 election.
“If you look at the ballot and the voice of our voters, recreational marijuana passed overwhelmingly in our city,” Bliss said. “As an elected official, I really need to listen to the voice of the community. And that spoke volumes to me.”
Grand Rapids has already set the groundwork for medical marijuana. On Tuesday, the city commission is expected to pass amendments to its zoning ordinance related to medical marijuana facilities.
Applications for medical marijuana facilities have not yet been accepted by the city’s planning department due to a moratorium put in place Sept. 18.
Suzanne Schultz, the planning department’s director, said the city expects to have the moratorium lifted early next year. Special land use applications for medical marijuana facilities are scheduled to be accepted beginning April 1, 2019, after a regulatory ordinance is approved for recreational marijuana.
“I see that the work we’ve done around medical marijuana will really be the foundation for the work that we’re going to do with recreational,” Bliss said. “We’re allowing medical marijuana and I think they’re on parallel tracks.
“When you look at the land use ordinance, I don’t necessarily see a significant difference between the land use for recreational versus the land use for medical marijuana.”
The state’s licensing and regulatory department has a year to figure out the logistics and framework of recreational marijuana facilities opening shop. Included in that are two types of facilities that aren’t shared by the medical marijuana industry — retail and micro-business — which are currently not allowed in Grand Rapids.
As the state’s regulations get put in place, the city commission will have a conversation regarding the Grand Rapids ordinance related to recreational