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Deadline approaching for GR medical marijuana applications

Medical marijuana shop in Denver.
O'dea via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0


The city of Grand Rapids is just about finished accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses. Interested applicants have until the 14th of March for medical marijuana businesses. On April 12, applicants will be randomly drawn and chosen in order to be heard by the commission.

The city has created eight points for applicants so that, if they qualify for any or all of the points, it will be more likely for them to be drawn over others.

“The city commission felt that they wanted to incentivize local applicants,” Grand Rapids Senior Planner Landon Bartley said.“So they set up the MIVEDA, which is the Marijuana Industry Voluntary Equitable Development Agreement, as a way of doing that.”   

One point is given if at least 25 percent of the company’s ownership is a resident of the state of Michigan. Another, if a resident of Kent County, and another if a resident in the city of Grand Rapids. A point will also be given to those that are a resident of a specific target area in the core of the city, which generally covers Garfield Park to Creston and the West Side to Eastown. Owners must have been a resident in at least one of the last five years.

More points are given if the company can make a three-year commitment for local hiring and business. One point is given if the company hires at least 15 percent of its employees from those that live in the city. Another point if at least 24 percent of business contracts are with companies registered with the city as a micro local business enterprise. A third point is given if the company hires at least 30 employees working at least 30 hours a week.

The eighth point is given if the business’ property is more than 1,000 feet away from all nearby sensitive land uses. These include schools, childcare centers, religious institutions, substance use disorder programs, parks or other marijuana facilities. Businesses can get waivers for these in certain situations, but then they do not get the point.

There are currently no state-licensed medical or recreational-use marijuana businesses in the city. Bartley says he expects about 30-40 provisionary centers and 10 growing facilities.

When local businesses feed into the local economy, Bartley says it creates what’s called a ‘multiplier effect.’

“If a business is locally owned, then money spent at that business will then be turned around back into the community, instead of sending it out to a remote owner somewhere else,” Bartley said. “So that money is worth more to a community, than money spent at a business that’s not local.”

Bartley predicts it will be May before the first applicants are able to present to the planning commission.


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