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Public forum on marijuana in the city March 5

by Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs is ready to start the formal conversation on what types of recreational marijuana businesses might be allowed in the City, and want the citizens to be a part of it. The public is invited to a forum on Thursday, March 5 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Cedar Springs Public Library to learn about the first draft of the ordinance and to give their input.

According to City Manager Mike Womack, the draft of the ordinance is not really a recommendation, just a place to start. The City Council will review it and the public’s comments as well before making a decision.

This is only a draft and not the final policy.

1. The City of Cedar Springs would allow the following recreational marijuana establishments:

a. Marijuana Growers-all license types (from 100 to 2,000 plants)

b. Marihuana Processors (converts marijuana from growers for sale in retail locations)

c. Marijuana Retailer (operates stores for purchase of processed marijuana)

d. Marijuana Safety Compliance Facility (tests marijuana for contaminants)

e. Marijuana Microbusinesses (a smaller, self-contained business allowed to grow, process and sell the products from a maximum of 150 plants)

f. Excess Marijuana Grower (a license issued to a person holding 5 Class C marijuana grower licenses and licensed to cultivate marijuana and sell or otherwise transfer marihuana to marihuana establishments). 

2. They would not allow the following:

a. Marijuana Secured Transporter (they may operate within the City but may not establish any place or parcel in the City as a base of operations as either a primary or accessory use on that property)

b. Marijuana Event Organizer

c. Temporary Marijuana Event

d. Designated Consumption Establishment

e. Any other marijuana establishment or license not specifically permitted under Part 1 above.

The ordinance also explains they will allow an unlimited number of licenses and where those various businesses can be located.

The Cedar Springs City Council wants to hear citizen input on this issue. Please plan to attend the public forum at the library on March 5th, or the March 12thor April 16thCity Council meetings. You can also e-mail the Council members via their email, listed on the city’s webpage at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/city-council/. Just click on the name of the Councilperson you’d like to email, or e-mail the City Manager (manager@cityofcedarsprings.org) who will then forward your comments to all members of the City Council.

Read a draft of the City’s proposed ordinance at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Rec-MJ-Proposal-2-26-2020.pdf. It will tell you what zones the various businesses can be located in.

The City’s zoning map can be found at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/8A-Cedar-Springs-Zoning-Map2020.pdf

Who to contact to open a recreational marijuana business

Before contacting the City about opening a business, you need to get a license from the State of Michigan through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) www.michigan.gov/lara. And unless you already have a medical marijuana license, your choices on what type of recreational marijuana business you can open will be limited, at least until 2021. 

According to Michigan’s law, only three business types are currently available to those that do not already have a medical marijuana license. Those three are:

*A Class A grower (up to 100 plants allowed, $4,000 license fee, must be a Michigan resident); 

*A microbusiness (a smaller, self-contained business allowed to grow, process and sell the products from a maximum of 150 plants, $8,000 license fee, must be a Michigan resident); and a

*Safety compliance facility (tests marijuana for contaminants, $25,000 license fee). 

Those limitations expire in December 2021.

If you are already prequalified for a medical marijuana license, you could apply for licenses such as Class B and C grower; processor; retailer; and secure transporter.

The cost to submit an application for a recreational marijuana business (with no guarantee a license will ultimately be issued) is $6,000. (That is above the annual licensing fee listed above). The application fee is non-refundable and offsets the cost for LARA, the Michigan State Police (MSP), and/or contract costs for investigative services for conducting the background investigation of those applying for licenses.

Once a business is approved, the licensing and renewal fees range from $1,000 for a marijuana event organizer to $40,000-plus per year for large-scale processors and growers.

Applicants must also have a $100,000 liability and bodily injury insurance policy.

Once you have qualified at the state level, then you can talk to the City about the type of business you want to start and where. There may be a fee there as well.

Review the rules at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/Adult_Use_Marihuana_Establishments_659804_7.pdf.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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