GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — New Standard Cannabis is preparing for a grand opening this weekend, the first in the city — and just the third in Ottawa County — to sell marijuana recreationally.

The dispensary first opened for medical marijuana sales in June 2021.

“You know, having medical be part of the community was a really big deal in the first place,” said New Standard Grand Haven co-owner Erin Lyon. “The residents here in Grand Haven voted for prop one, right? We said, yes. We said, ‘yes, we want this in our community.'”

Lyon added that the Grand Haven City Council was on board and excited to add a medical dispensary in the community so that people didn’t have to drive to Kalamazoo, Muskegon or Grand Rapids. Getting approval to sell recreationally, however, was a bit more of a challenge. 

“The conversations were a little different,” Lyon explained. “A lot of city council meetings, a lot of talking to city council about making sure they were fulfilling what the residents of Grand Haven wanted and voted for and making sure that was going to happen. And not only that, just trying to have them understand that, just also adding recreational, wasn’t going to cause any concerns or issues.”

The resolution, passed by council in a 3-2 vote in June, allows adults 21 years and older to buy, possess and use weed recreationally, although it is still illegal to use it in public. Grand Haven Mayor Catherine McNally had expressed concerns during council meetings of potential increased use, specifically on beaches and in the downtown area.

“I think there was just a lot of education that needed to happen as well, to get us to this process,” Lyon said. “In our community around us, in Nunica and Muskegon and all these areas, they haven’t seen increases in police needs or, you know, drug issues or any of those stigmas that might come from that,” Lyon said. 

Pat Whalen, the Plainwell district supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR said the department relies on conservation officers to enforce the laws on state park beaches and campgrounds. He said they don’t get many complaints. 

“I think it’s becoming more and more accepted as further we get down the road, but as far as parks, we don’t have a lot of those complaints,” Whalen said.

New Standard will host a two-day grand opening event on Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17. The event will feature giveaways for the first fifty shoppers each day, live music from Motor City Beat Friday afternoon, the Smashburger Food Truck and a variety of other vendors. The Grand Haven location is at 1125 S. Beacon Blvd.