City of Lansing gives conditional approval to 20 medical marijuana dispensaries


It’s a far cry from the dozens of shops that were selling medical marijuana in the city before the ordinances.

“At one point there were an estimate of about 80,” City Clerk Chris Swope said, “when they were dispensaries before the law that clarified that they were allowed to be here.”

After more than a year of tough background checks and applications, 20 dispensaries are clear to move forward in their licensing processes. The shops approved in phase one could add more than 2000 jobs and $80 million to the city’s economy. Five of them already have state approval.

That support from the city is still conditional.The shops can sell medical marijuana through the end of june, but they still have to get official licenses to keep selling after that. The dozens of shops that don’t have licenses yet could face steep penalties from the city and from law enforcement if they keep selling.

“Anyone that is operating a provisioning center that does not have a conditional approval from the city, and there are only 20,” City Attorney James Smiertka says, “and is not actively engaged in getting the state license is subject to being cited with a civil infraction. It’s a $750 a day penalty the first time and then a thousand dollars afterwards, or being shut down.”

Those unlicensed shops would also lose the chance to earn their license for another year. 

Right now the city is working on the second phase of licensing. This is set to give conditional approval to five more pot shops bringing the total number to 25.

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