Grand Rapids, Michigan was originally set to open recreational cannabis dispensaries this spring, but now, the city has decided to push the start date to later this year.
According to GRBJ.com, city commissioners passed a resolution on March 20 with a 5-2 vote that will delay the recreational cannabis license process until October 20. This decision was the result of a “heated discussion” that occurred at a meeting in late February. The commission discussed the topic, but they were unable to come to a decision on how to move forward with recreational cannabis licensing.
Amendments were set to be adopted on March 31, which would have met the April 20 deadline, however the commission decided on February 25 to establish a moratorium on cannabis applications for six months.
One of the commissioners who voted “no,” Jon O’Connor, stated that an alteration to the start date would put more stress on both cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs who are trying to invest in the local community. “Businesses made a decision whether or not they’d probably pursue this and made financial commitments … based upon a timeline that we had all agreed to,” O’Connor said. “And in the 11th hour, I feel like we’re all Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown.”
Now that an extended deadline has been set, the commission will work on a framework for recreational cannabis businesses. A work group (consisting of has already been established by City Manager Mark Washington with the intention of creating new recommendations for regulatory processes in Grand Rapids, including how procedures and licensing should work.
Meetings have already been established to ensure that the commissions, work group and all working parties can stay on track. This includes but is not limited to public hearings and amendments considerations.
Despite setbacks from the global coronavirus pandemic, progress is still being made throughout the state of Michigan. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency quickly announced that it would allow 15 recreational dispensaries and 66 medical dispensaries to deliver to patients throughout the state. Recreational cannabis alone earned the state $18 million in sales. Although the country and world are going through unprecedented lengths, it is very likely that cannabis will continue to thrive.