Grand Rapids sets rules for recreational marijuana facilities


Grand Rapids has met the state-imposed deadline for establishing recreational marijuana ordinances.

The Grand Rapids City Commission last week approved a licensing ordinance for recreational marijuana facilities. The ordinance establishes the framework for local licensing and regulation of marijuana establishments and facilities as authorized under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

Third Ward Commissioner Nathaniel Moody said the city was required to have an ordinance in effect no later than Nov. 1 to avoid a default opt-in status while lacking reasonable regulations on marijuana uses.

The proposed licensing ordinance will act as a formal opt-in action on recreational marijuana by the city but specifies a license issuance date of April 20. This six-month window will allow time to create a license application, fee structure and application process; for staff to research potential land use impacts associated with recreational marijuana; to engage the public; and to amend the zoning ordinance to provide appropriate land use regulations for recreational marijuana uses.

Under the city’s existing medical marijuana zoning ordinance, adopted and amended in 2018, medical marijuana facilities currently are allowed within the city of Grand Rapids with the appropriate zoning approval and in line with buffer requirements.

Under the new recreational ordinance, all marijuana establishments are required to report basic energy usage data to the Grand Rapids 2030 District, which will help the city better understand the energy and water needs for the industry. Energy efficiency requirements are applicable only to marijuana uses that involve the growing of cannabis, meaning any classes of grower and micro businesses.

Medical marijuana facilities licensed under the MMFLA that already have special land use approval will be allowed to continue to operate medical marijuana-related operations under their existing SLU permit until the six-month period has expired, at which point, a license application will need to be submitted.

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