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Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously approves marijuana medical dispensaries


Before the unanimous vote from the commissioners, 25 individuals spoke up during public comment about the ordinance.

Michelle Stitt, from the Kent County Prevention Coalition, requested a special consideration be given to the youth. 

“When we become more lax with the laws and such when it comes to things like marijuana and such that the perceptions of harm on the part of youth goes down and there is a direct correlation there.” 

Matt Hoffman, Chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and small business owner in Grand Rapids, expressed a need to increase access to the number of sites available for dispensaries.  

“By limiting the number of businesses that we have access to not only limits the amount of revenue the city can generate but also limits the amount of employees that can work in the industry.” 

Robert Hendricks, Grand Rapids, cannabis business attorney with Cannalex Law, said that this ordinance is an opt in ordinance with proximity and zoning limits, but not a numerical limit. 

“There are as a practical matter limits on the number of sites that will be available for medical marijuana facilities.”

Hendricks explained that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regular Affairs (LARA) has required an applicant to have at least $300,000 dollars needed to start up a medical marijuana dispensary. The cost will vary he says and depends on the availability of real estate, the size and the scope of the operation. 

“But it certainly isn’t the only number and that number could be a lot larger or probably a little bit smaller.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News