2018-03-04 / Insight

Lapeer to begin accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses

BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan @mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — Effective the first week of April, individuals and corporate representatives may begin to apply for licenses to operate medical marijuana businesses in the city of Lapeer. There is plenty of interest. City hall has received hundreds of inquiries in recent months by people who sought more information about the status of the city’s medical marijuana regulation.

Lapeer is one of nearly 80 communities across Michigan that have opted in to allow medical marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions, and one of only a handful in the region.

Two weeks ago the Lapeer City Commission approved an ordinance to regulate the operation of five license types of medical marijuana businesses permitted by the State of Michigan. A last-minute amendment introduced by Commissioner Dan Osentoski was approved — to limit the number of dispensaries (provisioning centers) to six. The commission also voted to prohibit dispensaries from the downtown central business district.

The area of city bound to see medical marijuana development includes the East Genesee/Imlay City Road corridor, while interest has been shown by developers to locate grow facilities on parcels of city-owned property along John Conley Drive on the city’s far southwest corner. Per state law, grow facilities can only be located in areas zoned agriculture or industrial. There are no longer any parcels in the city zoned for agriculture.

Two months ago city officials rezoned a piece of property just west of Mold Masters on Imlay City Road to industrial, fueling speculation that the area is destined for a medical marijuana facility.

The city clerk’s office and administration is currently working to develop a protocol to process license applications. Opponents and critics of the six-dispensary limitation contend the restriction will set the city up for lawsuits by those who may challenge the process and the criteria the city will use to determine who makes the cut to receive a license to operate a dispensary.

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