Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County

Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County
Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County
Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan, is located on the Grand River, east of Lake Michigan. There are over 80 breweries dotted around town, many museums and multiple universities.
Marijuana facilities in
Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County
are regulated under
Michigan
marijuana laws and local laws and ordinances.
Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County
marijuana rules allow for the following:
MEDICAL MARIJUANA FACILITIES
RECREATIONAL (ADULT USE) MARIJUANA FACILITIES
NO COMMERCIAL MARIJUANA FACILITIES ALLOWED
Understanding Marijuana Regulations
'Opted In' means they have already adopted (or are in the process of adopting), a zoning ordinance defining where marijuana facilities can be located, and a marijuana ordinance outlining the rules that apply to marijuana facilities.
'No Commercial Marijuana Facilities Allowed' means they have either written rules prohibiting commercial marijuana facilities in their municipality, or they haven't written rules about it at all. Commercial Facilities are different than Caregiver facilities.
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Municipality News - Marijuana Rules In

Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County

Update - August 14, 2020 - Marijuana Permitting and Licensing In Grand Rapids Summary

July 10th’s meeting had a massive turnout, with all in attendance in support of Medical Marijuana

Grand Rapids had a very large turnout in support of medical marijuana on July 10th. The room was packed to capacity, and not one person was there to speak against the ordinance.

The city is considering two different zoning amendment recommendations, a restrictive option put forth by the planning director, and a more lenient option put forth by the planning commission. Support from the public was largely in favor of the more lenient planning commission recommendation.

While public support leans towards the Planning Commission plan (no annual fee, less restrictive zoning, etc), the implementation of either plan would set Grand Rapids as a massive emerging market for the Cannabis Industry.  It seems the City of Grand Rapids is working on, and truly wants to create a positive system in which patients will have access to their medicine. The details of each proposed plan are as follows:

Planning Director Recommendation

If the city decides to go with the planning director’s recommendation, there is a maximum of 41 parcels that would qualify, many of which are already occupied or not available for sale. It is more realistic to expect 10-15 locations if that ordinance in adopted.

Annual Fee

$5,000

Zoning Requirements

Under this proposal all medical marihuana facilities would be subject to the following separation requirements:

Adjoining Local Jurisdictions

A 1,000 feet separation distance would be required from uses and residential zone districts in adjoining local jurisdictions.

Grower License Stacking

Permits the stacking of grower licenses to permit more plants than would otherwise be allowed for the license.

Co-Location of Facilities

Allows more that one license (grower, processor, and/or provisioning center) to be located on the same parcel.

Other Requirements

Planning Commission Recommendation

Annual Fee

None

Zoning Requirements

Under this proposal zoning restrictions vary based on facility type.

Provisioning Centers

Growers, Processors, Secure Transporters, and Safety Compliance Facilities

Adjoining Local Jurisdictions

A 1,000 feet separation distance would not be required from uses and residential zone districts in adjoining local jurisdictions.

Grower License Stacking

Permits the stacking of grower licenses to permit more plants than would otherwise be allowed for the license.

Co-Location of Facilities

Allows more that one license (grower, processor, and/or provisioning center) to be located on the same parcel.

Other Requirements

None

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Update - September 19, 2018 - Grand Rapids Stops Marijuana Facility Applicants ‚Äď 6 Month Moratorium Enacted

The Grand Rapids City Commission voted 5-1 to enact a 6 month moratorium on medical marijuana applications at Tuesday‚Äôs meeting. Grand Rapids is one of the only cities that intentionally considered local small business owners by providing space for micro businesses in their ordinance. They have made a strong effort to maintain ‚Äėbuy local‚Äô values and support entrepreneurs within the city.

However, the effect that this moratorium will have on those entrepreneurs is unclear. We do know that this substantial delay is going to leave hundreds of potential applicants scrambling for money. This is why.

When a major city like Grand Rapids opts in to allow for medical marijuana facilities, there is a pretty standard chain of events that occurs. We have seen it over and over across the state, and it typically goes something like this.

  1. The city opts in to allow medical marijuana facilities. People in the industry start to take notice. More than likely, a select few were involved in the chain of events that caused the municipality to pass the ordinance. Investors and operators want to get in as fast as possible to get the best deal on real estate, secure prime locations, and gain their foothold in the market. They quietly start procuring property.
  2. A zoning ordinance is drafted, and more people start making offers on real estate. Some people actually intend on purchasing the property. However, a LOT of them are just trying to lock up real estate to prevent competition. The same groups go from city to city utilizing the same tactics. They drive up prices to unreasonable numbers that keep actual operators out of the market. As this happens, property owners realize that their real estate is ‚Äėgreen zoned‚Äô and prices continue to climb.
  3. The zoning ordinance is finalized and the city starts to get media attention. Operators who actually intend on opening a business start looking at property, only to find that a lot of it is already under contract. They have to make aggressive offers, often involving non-refundable deposits, monthly payments while the property is under contract, along with an inflated purchase price.
  4. Here is the step where an operator would normally start the application process with the municipality, hoping that the approval will happen before they have to close on the property. In a normal scenario, this may be a 2 ‚Äď 4 month process at the city level, so a six month contract on a piece of property is typically sufficient. HOWEVER ‚Äď Grand Rapids just threw a wrench in this process, pushing the timeline out at least six months. All of the people that spent thousands, often hundreds of thousands of dollars to get through step 3, are now scramble to keep the property they have security. A lot of them will lose the deal and have to start over.

Over the next six months, we are going to see a lot people run out of money trying to hold onto real estate in an extremely competitive space while they wait for the city. Their contracts will expire, and many of those properties will come back on the market and go to the next buyer. Unfortunately, it seems the groups that will suffer the most are the small business owners. They don’t have the funding behind them that the bigger operations do, and they won’t be able to continue burning the cash needed to extend purchase agreements and keep locations secured.

Some say that there was no room for smaller operators anyway because of the inflated real estate prices. However, we can be certain that the groups that were well prepared, got in early, and had just enough money to start their own business will definitely suffer.

There is a work session scheduled for October 9 to discuss the marijuana facility application process, as well as some potential changes to the ordinance. One of the proposed changes include removing the prequalification requirement from the ordinance. If this happens, it would drastically increase the number of people eligible to apply for a facility permit within the city. Whether that will be good for the small businesses in the City of Grand Rapids is yet to be seen, as it will likely increase demand and drive up real estate prices even farther.

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Update - July 23, 2018 - Grand Rapids Gearing Up For More Than Medical Marijuana

The City of Grand Rapids is set to be western Michigan‚Äôs marijuana hub, and the City Commission knows it. ¬†After the Commission held a public hearing on July 10th, the Commission took a large amount of the public comment into consideration, and has created an updated medical marijuana facility ordinance. ¬†According to the Grand Rapids website, ‚ÄúThe draft ordinance, as prepared by the Planning Department, was developed in collaboration with the City‚Äôs Police Department, Attorney‚Äôs Office, City Clerk, and included an extensive research evaluation process.‚ÄĚ

In developing this new ‚Äúhybrid ordinance‚ÄĚ, the Planning Department researched marijuana ordinances and zoning policies held by Denver, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles and Phoenix, and modeled their updated medical marijuana ordinance on these policies. ¬†The Planning Department also reviewed how Lansing, Detroit, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo have addressed the issue of locating medical marijuana provisioning centers and other marijuana facilities within their municipalities .

When drafting the hybrid ordinance, the Planning Department evaluated whether the city should utilize a quota system setting a maximum number of marijuana facilities allowed, or separation distance requirements to naturally limit the number of cannabis dispensaries and other marijuana facilities. They came to the conclusion that a quota system puts an incredible burden on the administration, and may also result in a large number of lawsuits from those not receiving marijuana facility licenses, similar to Troy, Lansing, and Detroit.

As a result, they decided on a stringent separation distance system, which will naturally restrict the number of marijuana provisioning centers and other facilities that will open within the City of Grand Rapids, but allow the free market to naturally determine who is able to acquire a marijuana facility permit.  They noted this system will work very similar to how billboards are regulated in the city, with a 1000 foot distance required between each billboard.

The proposed hybrid medical marijuana ordinance was drafted to allow the adoption of a sixth license type, micro-marijuana businesses, assuming the November recreational marijuana ballot initiative passes.  The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) adds the sixth license type for the sale of recreational marijuana, and is intended to provide opportunity for small start-ups in the highly competitive marijuana industry. Think of it as a microbrewery, for marijuana.

The hybrid ordinance proposes 208 parcels available for marijuana growers, processors, provisioning centers, secure transporters, and safety compliance facilities, which allows for up to 43 non-micro marijuana facility business locations after separation distances are applied.  There are 1,253 parcels for potential micro-businesses. It seems the Grand Rapids City Commission is preparing to cater toward the recreational sale of marijuana in the future, while still allowing medical marijuana facilities in the current system.

Additional Ordinance Updates:

From what we have seen, the Grand Rapids City Commission and Planning department has developed these hybrid marijuana facility ordinance changes very strategically,  specifically through researching major marijuana friendly cities like Denver and L.A., and listening to local requests to leave room for the small marijuana business owners. By allowing a significant number of micro-business parcels, it is apparent that the city is actually listening to community feedback and planning for a successful future in the local marijuana industry.

It is safe to say the City of Grand Rapids plans on being the state’s premier marijuana-friendly municipality and they are well on their way.  The commission will tentatively vote on the hybrid ordinance at the July 24th meeting.

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Updated - July 25, 2018 - Grand Rapids to Allow Medical Marijuana Facilities

Yesterday was a historic day for the Grand Rapids community, and Michigan marijuana community as a whole. Grand Rapids officially opted in, passing an ordinance allowing marijuana facilities in the city. If you haven’t already, check out our overview of the original proposed hybrid ordinance released last week.

The biggest challenge the City Commission faced was how to opt in to the MMFLA without destroying the opportunity for small local marijuana businesses to get involved. They decided this will be achieved through allowing locations specifically for marijuana micro-businesses, pending the November vote on recreational marijuana.

The City Commission plans on preventing ‚ÄúBig Cannabis‚ÄĚ from taking complete control of the Grand Rapids market by allowing only Michigan residents to apply for a cannabis micro-business license for the first two years. Micro-business owners will not be allowed to hold another marijuana facility license type, which is another way local business will be protected in the local Grand Rapids marijuana industry.

Amendments Made to the Ordinance:

On the surface, increased buffer distances for medical marijuana facilities makes Grand Rapids a more difficult municipality to get involved in. But in reality, they did this to protect local business down the road. They discussed the fear of being too lenient, which would effectively fill the market immediately, thereby crushing any opportunity for local micro-businesses to get involved in the future. The City Commission is also seeing municipalities like Detroit, Lansing and Troy facing lawsuits, which they want to avoid.

These increased buffer distances, while serving the purpose of protecting the interests of schools, churches, rehab facilities, etc., also allow the future opportunity for additional amendment reducing buffer distances to allow micro-businesses a chance at the market. It is very difficult for a municipality to come back later and increase these distances, but lowering them to allow room for recreational businesses is a strong possibility. The $5,000 annual fee is standard in most municipalities, as the revenue is intended to defray administrative and policing costs, as well as an undetermined portion of which will be disbursed throughout the community.

Timeline:

The Grand Rapids City Commission plans on meeting at a later date to discuss plans regarding VEDA’s and how the tax revenue will be disbursed.  But great progress has been made, and they will continue to improve.


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Interesting Facts About
Grand Rapids, MI - Kent County