Published in Economic Development
New Standard’s medical cannabis dispensary in Grand Haven is temporarily closed. New Standard’s medical cannabis dispensary in Grand Haven is temporarily closed. COURTESY PHOTO

Grand Haven to allow recreational cannabis businesses with major zoning limitations

BY Wednesday, June 22, 2022 04:24pm

Grand Haven will join dozens of communities statewide that allow cannabis sales for adult recreational use, though local officials have placed significant zoning restrictions on where retailers and other facilities could operate.

The land use ordinance the Grand Haven City Council approved on Monday creates buffer zones that prohibit cannabis-related businesses from operating within a certain distance from one another and from schools, libraries, daycares, parks and churches. The ordinance takes effect 21 days after it was published.

The buffer zones mean that cannabis retailers, provisioning centers, growers, processors and transporters will have limited areas within the city to locate, mostly around the city’s industrial park on the southeast side of town, according to City Manager Pat McGinnis.

“There are very few locations where adult use would be allowed,” said McGinnis, who is leaving his position in Grand Haven this week to become city manager in Portage.

The buffer zones written into the ordinance prohibit cannabis-related businesses within 1,000 feet of K-12 schools and libraries, and within 500 feet of daycare centers, parks, places of worship, and substance use disorder programs. Both adult recreational and medical cannabis facilities also must remain at least 2,500 feet apart from each other.

The new city ordinance also limits cannabis companies’ operations from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and includes regulations such as prohibiting vehicles used to transport or deliver marijuana from having “marijuana,” “cannabis” or similar words or images that indicate it’s carrying marijuana.

The city will likely create a lottery system to award special land use permits to applicants who meet criteria in the ordinance, McGinnis said.

“We will be setting up a very clear and precise procedure to hold that lottery,” he said.

Grand Haven has previously allowed medical marijuana businesses within city limits. Under an existing ordinance, three businesses were awarded licenses, two of which never opened, including one whose approval lapsed, McGinnis said. A third medical marijuana permit the city issued for a retail location opened a year ago by New Standard recently closed temporarily.

Growing industry

Statewide, 121 municipalities presently allow recreational adult-use marijuana businesses, according to a monthly report by the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Medical marijuana sales and businesses are allowed in 162 municipalities, which under state law have the right to opt out from allowing marijuana-related business within their boundaries.

Since Michigan voters in 2018 legalized adult recreational use, legal sales of all marijuana products have grown quickly. As of May, sales across all products — including flower,  concentrate, vape cartridges, edibles and liquids — totaled $842 million so far in 2022, well ahead of the $661.9 million in the first five months of 2021. The industry now directly employs more than 24,000 people in Michigan.

Year-to-date sales for all adult-use cannabis products in Michigan totaled $705.8 million through May 31, according to the latest report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Medical marijuana sales totaled $136.2 million.

In May alone, adult-use sales were $163.1 million and medical marijuana product sales across Michigan were $23.2 million.

In 2021, combined marijuana product sales in Michigan totaled nearly $18 billion — $481.2 million for medical and $1.31 billion for adult recreational use.

Nationwide, marijuana product sales in 2021 reached nearly $25 billion and supported more than 428,000 full-time equivalent jobs, according to a February annual report by the marijuana website Leafly.

Leafly forecasts U.S. cannabis sales to grow to $45 billion by 2025.

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Read 3576 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 July 2022 17:03