Michigan is among 11 states with legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use.

Muskegon Heights recently announced plans to allow up to three more dispensaries within its city limits.

The following is a re-post of an article written by Ben Solis and published on MLive.com

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Up to three medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to operate in certain areas of Muskegon Heights.

The city council on Monday, March 25, approved an amendment to the city’s existing medical marijuana facilities ordinance to allow up to three dispensaries within city’s light industrial and commercial zones.

The council has not discussed allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Council members in April 2018 passed an ordinance that allows growers, processors, testing facilities and secure transporters to operate in Muskegon Heights if they have obtained a special use permit from the city’s planning commission.

The council initially banned dispensaries, but became comfortable with discussing medical marijuana retail stores as time went on. A vote to allow dispensaries occurred during a special meeting on Aug. 16, but the city’s medical marijuana ordinance still needed to be amended to allow them.

According to the recently amended ordinance, all medical marijuana dispensaries, or provisioning centers, must be located in the city’s I1 light industrial and C3 commercial zones. Muskegon Heights’ C3 commercial zones are located in six clusters on the far edges of the city’s northwest, southwest, northeast, southeast, east and west borders.

The light industrial zones are located mostly in the top half of they city in three clusters to the west, north and around the city’s downtown area.

Dispensaries in Muskegon Heights would only be allowed to operate between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and must remain closed on Sundays. Any consumable marijuana product must be kept in a safe when the store is not in operation.

All patrons must show a Michigan medical marijuana patient or caregiver ID card and some form of state identification to enter the building.

Officials will use a merit system to score and approve applications from prospective pot merchants hoping to set up shop in Muskegon Heights. The merit system includes a scaled rubric which scores applicants on their credentials as business owners and stewards of the community.

Pot entrepreneurs would have to maintain the cleanliness of their properties and would be required to get a special use permit from the Muskegon Heights Planning Commission before obtaining an operating permit.

They also must carry a $1 million liability insurance policy and maintain 360-degree video surveillance equipment around all areas containing plants, products, equipment and/or cash assets.

The city would assess a mandated $5,000 application fee for medical marijuana dispensaries, which is common with its other license types.

Like other medical marijuana facilities in Muskegon Heights, each dispensary would be subject to inspections from the city to maintain compliance of those and other rules, such as building and fire code compliance.

Smoking cigarettes or pot or consuming alcohol on the premises also is prohibited.

Violating the rules would result in a misdemeanor subject to up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, plus court costs.

Muskegon Heights’ ordinance also allows five licenses for Class C growers, five for medical marijuana processors, two for safety compliance facilities and two secure transporter licenses.

The city council must wait a year between any amendments to its medical marijuana ordinance, including the number of licenses and license types.

The vote on Monday was a turning point for Muskegon Heights and its perspective on pot shops, as several council members, including Councilwoman Bonnie McGlothin and Councilman Andre Williams, initially opposed them outright.

The ordinance that governs marijuana facilities in Muskegon Heights was introduced in 2017 and went through a year’s worth of revisions and discussion from council until it was finalized.

Mayor Kim Sims addressed the delays at the end of Monday’s meeting, saying she was grateful for residents who patiently waited until the Muskegon Heights City Council could come up with an ordinance — and a decision on dispensaries — that it felt comfortable passing.

“Thank you for the support,” Sims said. “I’m excited about the progress we’ve made in the city. I’m proud of this council for what we do and for what’s best for our citizens.”

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This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.

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