GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first application window for medical marijuana businesses in the city of Grand Rapids closes Friday afternoon.
The city will continue accepting applications beyond Friday, but the 4 p.m. deadline is for eager businesspeople who want the first shot at opening dispensaries, cultivation centers and other medical marijuana-related shops in the city.
“This is medical marijuana only,” Landon Bartley, senior city planner, explained. “Recreational (marijuana) might happen down the road, but really right now we’re just focusing on medical and that’s all that our ordinance allows for.”
He told 24 Hour News 8 that the planning department has received a handful of applications for potential medical marijuana businesses since the city started accepting them March 4. He expects as many as 100 submitted before the Friday deadline.
Completed applications received before the deadline all go into the city’s first medical marijuana lottery. In a livestreamed event loosely scheduled for April 12, the city will draw names to determine the order in which the Grand Rapids Planning Commission will discuss and vote on applications.
Bartley said the city chose to do a lottery after speaking with other cities where medical marijuana is legal. He said other cities reported applicants camping out for weeks and that was a concern for Grand Rapids for a number of reasons.
Applicants can boost their chances of being picked first.
“There are incentives for local hiring, for contracting with micro-local business enterprises, if you don’t need a waiver of separation distances from certain sensitive land uses. So there are ways that they can help increase their odds of getting picked first,” Bartley explained.
He added it would be tough to finish if the application in time if it hasn’t already been started.
“It’s not a simple application or a short one, but it’s not meant to be,” Bartley said.
That’s because there are several steps Grand Rapids requires before an application can be considered, including a meeting with local police. Applicants must also schedule meetings to lay out their good neighbor plan, which explains methods of crime prevention. There’s also an opportunity for residents near a proposed site to ask applicants questions and voice concern or support.
Bartley said that the first medical marijuana businesses could open before the end of the year.