21 medical marijuana facilities approved in Grand Rapids so far

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Grand Rapids officials have approved plans for 21 medical marijuana facilities in the city so far with about two dozen more awaiting review.

The latest approvals in recent weeks were all from the same company, Green Skies-Healing Tree LLC.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Thursday, Nov. 14, unanimously approved Green Skies’ application for a dispensary at 715 Michigan St. NE, about half a mile east of the Medical Mile.

Two weeks before, planning commissioners approved Green Skies’ plans for dispensaries at 2301 44th St. SE, near Breton Road, and 4162 Eastern Ave. SE, near 44th Street.

The planned Michigan Street dispensary approved Thursday was met with pushback from several residents and nearby businesses.

Some argued the dispensary would exacerbate congestion on Michigan Street and that parking would spill over onto the streets and other businesses’ parking lots. Others simply didn’t want marijuana being sold there.

Under the plans approved Thursday, Green Skies would have nine parking spaces shared with an upper-floor residential unit. That amount could expand to 14 under a proposed parking agreement.

Green Skies has committed to hiring at least 30 employees who will work more than 30 hours per week, and company officials say none of them will park on-site, at neighboring businesses or on the street.

Instead, they’ll have to bus, bike or get dropped off.

The Michigan Street application was the only one considered at the planning commission’s Thursday meeting.

The applicant for a provisioning center at 670 Leonard St. NW withdrew that bid, and another applicant, this one for a marijuana dispensary and grow operation at 1000 Ken-O-Sha Industrial Park Drive, opted to postpone that consideration.

With the recent approvals, Green Skies so far has landed special use permits for seven medical marijuana facilities in the city -- the most by any one company. They have four more facility permits awaiting review.

The total number of approved plans for medical marijuana facilities now totals 21. About 24 more plans await review. Officials say they expect the process to conclude early next year.

The planning commission considers each application on the grounds that the dispensaries could also at some point sell recreational marijuana.

Grand Rapids recently approved a framework recreational marijuana ordinance that will delay acceptance of business applications until April 2020.

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