GRAND RAPIDS — Recreational marijuana sales in Grand Rapids are one step closer to reality.
The Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Thursday approved regulations for recreational marijuana businesses in the city. The Committee of the Whole will consider the regulations on Feb. 25, and the City Commission will hold a public hearing in March.
If all goes according to plan, the city could begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses in April.
The Planning Commission previously tabled action on recreational marijuana regulations to do more research on separation distances and waivers to possibly open up more available properties to applicants.
Senior City Planner Landon Bartley estimated that, under the regulations, 10-15 additional eligible properties in commercial areas may become available with lower separation distances between microbusinesses and other marijuana facilities at 1,000 feet, compared to the medical marijuana separation distance between medical provisioning centers or recreational retailers at 2,000 feet.
“If you’re looking at the same areas where there have been approved facilities and have that 1,000-foot separation, that’s not that much,” Bartley said.
In another effort to open up more properties to marijuana business opportunities, the Planning Commission’s recommendation includes removing separation distances and waivers for religious institutions, publicly-owned parks and playgrounds, or state-licensed childcare facilities.
The Planning Commission would still consider the potential effects on land uses near properties, but “removed them as limiting factors for the purposes of site selection,” Bartley said.
Overall, Grand Rapids’ amendments to its marjiuana ordinance allow for the growing, processing, testing, transport and retail sales of both recreational and medical marijuana.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify the additional properties that might become available under the new proposed regulations for marijuana businesses.