Cloudy and Convenient Lansing caps cannabis retail establishments and proposes consumption lounges

To complete the process of converting Lansing’s cannabis regulations from medical to recreational, city leaders introduced a proposal to increase the number of businesses that will be allowed—while supporting small businesses and allowing public consumption areas.

Under the city’s existing medical cannabis ordinance, up to 25 provisioning centers can be permitted to sell cannabis to qualified patients. Recently, however, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor requested that the city council raise its cap on provisioning centers and add three more permits. The new rules would allow those businesses to sell recreational cannabis to any adults 21 and over, in addition to patients.

Lansing City Council introduced ordinance amendments on Sept. 9 that would allow up to 28 cannabis retailers and as many as four social clubs where patrons could consume cannabis. Under the rules, the city would also eventually permit up to four microbusinesses and 55 cultivation facilities.

At the meeting, Councilmember Carol Wood introduced the bill to amend the Lansing Codified Ordinances by amending Chapter 1300, Sections 1 through 16, and add business licenses to address recreational cannabis and update the ordinance to reflect changes in the rules.

A handful of more approvals remain before the rules can take effect. The upcoming rules are “going forward, but still in the legislative process,” Chief Deputy City Clerk Brian P. Jackson told CULTURE, explaining that public hearings took place on Sept. 23 and 30 to make tough compromises between the retail side versus the “infamous” medical side of Michigan’s cannabis industry.

According to At-Large City Councilmember Patricia Spitzley, the rules would limit social clubs, one to each of the city’s wards. Each city ward would also be eligible for one microbusiness, which is defined as an enterprise that can grow up to 150 plants and sell cannabis to customers at the same location. Social clubs would only be able to sell cannabis if they obtain an additional microbusiness license. Otherwise, all other social clubs would be “bring your own cannabis,” and no cannabis will be sold. The purpose of social clubs is to provide somewhere that patrons can consume cannabis legally.

“A designated consumption establishment must comply with all laws and rules pursuant to the MRTMA, including but not limited to, a ventilation system that directs air from the marihuana consumption area to the outside of the building through a filtration systems sufficient to remove visible smoke.”

 

Jackson provided CULTURE with some of the requirements that social consumption establishments must abide by, should the amendments be approved. “A designated consumption establishment must comply with all laws and rules pursuant to the MRTMA, including but not limited to, a ventilation system that directs air from the marihuana consumption area to the outside of the building through a filtration systems sufficient to remove visible smoke consistent with all applicable building codes and ordinances and adequate to eliminate odor at the property line,” the draft ordinance reads. “Use of marihuana at a private business shall not violate Chapters 622 and 664. The sale of marihuana is limited only to establishments licensed to conduct sales of marihuana.”

City Council Vice President Peter Spadafore applauded the inclusion of microbusinesses, because of the growing pressure to preserve mom-and-pop cannabis businesses that thrived during the medical cannabis era in Michigan. City leaders could initially allow for up to 75 cultivation businesses, but that cap could be lowered to 55 grow licenses by Jan. 1, 2021. The starter cap of 75 would include grandfathered medical cannabis cultivation establishments, but could eventually be whittled down to 55 during the renewal process.

It’s an exciting time for the development of the rules and regulations that will determine what types of businesses will be allowed in Lansing. The city council expects that the new rules will take effect by the beginning of November.

 

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