Lottery to determine Rx pot licensing dibs in GR

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s lottery time for entrepreneurs looking to open medical marijuana-related businesses in Grand Rapids.

On Friday, city planners will use a lottery-style drawing to determine how soon those businesses get to take the final step for approval. The drawing will stream live on the city’s Facebook page.

“Tomorrow will actually be the draw for the order on who gets to the planning commission first,” Suzanne Schulz, managing director of Design and Development for the city, explained to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.

When Grand Rapids officials OK’d medical marijuana facilities in July, they expected an onslaught of people wanting to cash in.

“When the city commission first talked about adopting an ordinance, within three days we had over 200 phone calls, counter questions and emails from the public saying, ‘How do I get in?'” Schulz said.

So they set up a system allowing would-be medical marijuana growers, transporters and dispensers to apply.

“The highest number of applications that we received were for provisioning centers, and a provisioning center — some name it a dispensary — that’s where you would go to get your medical marijuana,” Schulz said.

Of the 14 or so companies that made the cut, two, Green Skies Healing out of Detroit and Humble Roots out of California, have been assigned the majority of approvals for medical marijuana-related business sites located in clusters throughout the city. It means they will have the highest number of entries in the lottery.   

“We had a lot of out-of-town applications, but we did try to encourage some local ownership. So while we might have had an out-of-town business coming in, they did try to partner with some local community members,” Schulz said.

Getting in front of the planning commission early doesn’t mean automatic approval.  

“The planning commission will be holding a public hearing where the neighbors will be able to provide insight and testimony as to if they have any concerns or issues,” Schulz said.

The process also gave city planners a good feel for what’s likely to come next.  

Recreational marijuana was approved by voters last fall. The state has until December to work out statewide rules. After that, local communities will have to come up with their own.   

“We’ll be able to apply the learning that we’ve had to the recreational industry as we figure out where to allow those business to be,” Schulz said.

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Online:

Grand Rapids medical marijuana webpage

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