medical marijuana as regulated by the MRA

Municipalities “Opt In” And Authorize Facilities Under The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act

The numbers of municipalities electing to opt-in under the MMFLA are growing. Many are looking at the opportunities available for community growth, reuse of abandoned properties, and real property tax revenue increases. Municipalities see the benefits of allowing one or more state-licensed facilities outweigh the detriments.

The First Michigan Municipality

To our knowledge, the first Michigan municipality to jump in with a full-fledged ordinance is Pinconning Township. The Township officials clearly recognize the benefits. Pinconning Township has authorized up to 25 Grow licenses (Class A only), 25 Processor licenses, 10 Provisioning Center licenses, 4 Secured Transport licenses and 2 Safety Compliance Lab licenses. It is not likely the community will have that many on day 1 when the doors open for business in the township, but they will have many of them. Establishing those larger maximum numbers allows for growth over a period of time as properties become available for use under the zoning ordinance.

Just think. If all municipal operating permits were issued at $5,000 each in Pinconning Township, that’s $330,000 annually into the township coffers from just the annual operating permit fees; a nice tidy sum to help township development.

If we assume the figures we have developed in connection with the current level of medical marijuana usage in Michigan, 25 grow permits of 500 plants each could represent 10-20% of the medical marijuana needed in the state to provide for Qualified Patients and registered Primary Caregivers to use themselves.

Others Townships in the Arena

Following Pinconning Township’s lead, the city of Webberville, the city of Clare, the city of Kalkaska and, of course, the Village of Kingsley (thanks to Theracann’s multimillion dollar proposed development) stepped into the arena. They have either adopted MMFLA ordinances or are working on them.  Interestingly, the city of Webberville opt-in ordinance does not allow any Provisioning Centers. Everything else is fair game there.

Not too long ago, we received reports from the southwest corner of the state. The cities of Niles and Buchanan have both adopted resolutions instructing planning commissions to move forward with development of MMFLA ordinances. Near the lakeshore we see Crockery Township in Ottawa County passed an ordinance for one grow facility and one provisioning center.  I’m sure other communities will be jumping on board soon.

Considering Revenue Opportunity

Now we hear the next wave of positive movement is from the communities surrounding the Village of Kingsley. We are aware that Acme Township wants in on the goodies. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the other ones in that area do as well. I’m sure their township officials are hearing from their citizens about what could be a significant loss to the township from revenue opportunity if they don’t jump on board and opt in. Allowing grow facilities in the surrounding townships would provide more product for the Kingsley processing plant. Presumably the expansion in that area will mean secured transporters, a lab or two, and retail centers opening up as well.

Here’s how we describe it now: “When it rains it pours.”  We predict that more communities throughout the north, northeast, east and southwest parts of the state will be jumping on board and “opting in.”  Middle and middle west seem to be very reluctant to join this economic expansion. Maybe Grand Rapids is growing so fast with booze, downtown condos, motels, hotels and event facilities that the bud is left behind. We know that Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker has vowed to and does regularly attend meetings in every municipality to point out what he espouses to be the evils of cannabis. On the other hand, we consistently read in the Grand Rapids Press reports of traffic fatalities, serious accidents and murders “involving alcohol.”   Since this is the craft beer capital of Michigan, they won’t shut down alcohol, will they.  This is the golden goose. Can you imagine if the community leaders and law enforcement were stomping their feet and pointing fingers at municipal authorities and supporting legislation to eliminate alcohol in our county and in the state of Michigan? As a friend says, “ain’t gonna happen.”

So, let’s keep showing our municipal leaders the benefits of legal cannabis businesses for their communities.