Grand Rapids, Mich. is set to decide the future locations for marijuana-related facilities.

Michigan is among 11 states with legalized recreational and medical cannabis.

The following is a re-post of an article written by Justin P. Hicks and published on MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The locations of Grand Rapids’ first medical marijuana facilities will be determined next month through a weighted lottery-type draw.

City staff have scheduled the lottery to take place at 2 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the second-floor public hearing room at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW. The event, which will be broadcast live on the city’s Facebook page, was previously set for April 11.

Meanwhile, the city is sorting through 89 applications submitted before the March 15 deadline. Of those, 82 were for standalone provisioning centers — also know as dispensaries — while the rest were multi-use facilities with stacked licenses.

As of Wednesday, March 27, there were 17 applications that had been reviewed by city staff and found to be complete. Additionally, 68 were not yet reviewed for completeness, and four required additional information from the applicant.

The city lists the status of every application, as well as its address and necessary separation distances, on its online medical marijuana portal.There’s also an interactive map.

Grand Rapids adopted its medical marijuana ordinance on July 24 by a 6-0 vote. The ordinance will allow medical marijuana facilities within city limits with special land-use approval, but will limit the potential locations based on established separation distances.

To determine who gets the first shot at opening up shop, the city commission established a Marihuana Industry Voluntary Equitable Development Agreement that prospective developers could use to improve their spot in line when applying for special land use approval.

Developers get points based on their residency, dedication to improving the local economy, and for not needing a separation distance waiver from a sensitive use facility like a religious institution. Those applicants with the most points will get first priority going before the planning department for approval.

“The more local you get, the more points and the higher the priority,” said Suzanne Schulz, director of the city’s planning department.

On Nov. 8, voters approved a statewide proposal to allow recreational marijuana. Grand Rapids is still waiting for the state’s licensing and regulatory department to figure out the logistics and framework for recreational marijuana facilities opening shop.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has said Grand Rapids has no intention to opt out of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act.

“If you look at the ballot and the voice of our voters, recreational marijuana passed overwhelmingly in our city,” Bliss said in December 2018. “As an elected official, I really need to listen to the voice of the community. And that spoke volumes to me.”

The city will continue to accept complete applications for medical marijuana facilities beyond the initial lottery window.

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