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Categorized | City Hall Corner, News

The Devil’s lettuce

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

The City recently hosted a public forum regarding the issue of recreational marijuana this past November 15 at the Library. I used the forum as an opportunity to educate those in attendance about what the recreational marijuana law allows and doesn’t allow and also to ask for input from those in attendance about what types of businesses citizens might like to see be permitted in the City.

The main questions that I asked for input on and that I am still looking for input on are:

1. What types of marijuana businesses should the City consider allowing in the City?

2. In which zoning districts should we allow the various types of marijuana businesses?

3. How many of each marijuana business should the City consider allowing?

Due to time constraints there simply wasn’t sufficient time to enable each participant to both provide answers to these questions and also to explain why they chose that answer.

A fair argument can be made for or against each of the 8 marijuana businesses that are currently permissible under State law. Some might argue that a 2000 plant grower business is simply too big and potentially smelly to be in the City, others might counterargue that we should leave it to the business to determine if there exists a feasible property to operate the business and that there exists effective odor control technologies to prevent marijuana odor from leaving the premises. Some will say that a designated consumption facility will enable dangerous drugged driving in the City while others would argue that it would provide a safe and fun atmosphere for marijuana smokers to imbibe, similar to a bar.

There are also pros and cons to which zoning districts might be appropriate for each type of proposed marijuana business. For instance, a microbusiness would likely do well in an industrial zoning district because of the size of building required for the business but on the other hand, industrial zoning districts are less ideal for the retail customer business side of a microbusiness.  Allowing dispensaries in the B2 district would likely increase customer traffic to the downtown area but it would also be “in the face” of everyone who is against marijuana businesses. Allowing retail dispensaries or microbusinesses in the B3 district makes the marijuana less visible to those who don’t want to see it but it makes the business less accessible and could create parking problems at or near the business.

Finally, there is the question of whether the City should limit the number of any marijuana businesses but specifically should it limit the number of retail dispensaries and microbusinesses in the City. Some say allow as many dispensaries and microbusinesses as anybody wants to open and let capitalism weed out the bad ones and others who think we should limit the number to 2 dispensaries and 2 microbusinesses or 4 dispensaries or only 1 microbusiness or no dispensaries or microbusinesses at all.

Anyhow, all these questions and more will be discussed at the second recreational marijuana public forum on December 12 from 5:30 to 7pm at the Cedar Springs Public Library located at 107 N Main St. If you cannot make that forum please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts at manager@cityofcedarsprings.com.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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