GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Grand Rapids is taking steps toward potentially allowing marijuana dispensaries within the city.
In reaction to a citizen petition in the works, the city planning commission plans to discuss later this month an ordinance proposal to open the door for dispensaries in certain zoning districts.
After a recommendation is made by city planners, the proposal would then move to the city commission for discussion and eventually a vote.
“We need a Grand Rapids-specific solution if we’re going to do this and we’re trying to find a smart way to manage this that maintains the quality of life and maintains balance in our business district,” said Suzanne Schulz, the planning commission’s director of design, development and community engagement
Last month, a resident-led group announced its Smart & Safe GR campaign aimed at bringing licensed and properly regulated medicinal marijuana facilities to Grand Rapids through a November 2018 ballot proposal.
The group is attempting to collect signatures from 10,000 residents interested in a city ordinance to opt into the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act to authorize marijuana dispensaries.
Tami VandenBerg, a local business owner and activist who supports the campaign, said it’d be a victory if the petition sparked a city conversation even before the election.
“We’ve been trying to have conversations to get this moving on some level for months,” she said. “Seeing no action, that’s when we took it into our own hands. If this could get done well another way, I’m absolutely all for it.”
On May 24, the planning commission will consider zoning ordinance text amendments to allow for provisioning centers, secure transporters and safety compliance facilities related to marijuana as a special land use in certain zoning districts.
The proposal would suggest a limit to the number of