Green light for marijuana biz

The Laingsburg City Council has unanimously approved a petition for special land use, site plan amendment and license application for a marijuana retail storefront at 120 W. Grand River Road.

LAINGSBURG — Following a recommendation from the city’s planning commission, the Laingsburg City Council has approved a petition for special land use, site plan amendment and license application for a marijuana retail storefront at 120 W. Grand River Road.

The company behind the development, 120 West LLC, in May received city council approval on a special use permit and site plan for a marijuana microbusiness at the site, though after internal discussions, the business partners opted to apply for a retail provisioning license at the site instead, citing concerns over potential odor violations.

To facilitate the change in use, 120 West LLC — owned by Roy Liskey — partnered with licensed marijuana grower MM Agriculture LLC, of Lansing, which will supply the company all of its products for retail sales.

The council unanimously approved the companies’ licensing request — as well as an amended special use permit and site plan for the development — without discussion Monday, effectively granting the partnership the green light to begin construction.

“I just wanted to thank you all; it’s been a long process,” attorney John Liskey, who represents his son Roy, said following Monday’s license approval. “Our plan is to submit for building permits in the next few days and get going with construction.”

In a 6-1 vote May 4, with council member Mary Hetherington dissenting, the Laingsburg City Council permitted 120 West LLC to establish a microbusiness operation at 120 W. Grand River Road, approving the special use permit and site plan for the project.

Under a microbusiness license, an owner can grow, process and sell up to 150 plants from the same building, with prohibition against selling product to other retailers, and only to individuals 21 and older. Furthermore, if an individual owns a microbusiness, state law excludes them from holding interest in any other form of marijuana business.

Citing concerns over odor control, representatives from 120 West LLC opted to apply for a retail provisioning license instead, approaching the city council with the application during its July 6 meeting.

At the time, the council moved to accept the application, with the understanding that the city would have up to 90 days to review it before making a decision to accept or deny the issuance of a license. The city also stipulated that the company must amend its special use permit and site plan in order to gain approval.

“It was clearly stated (in the city’s ordinance) that a violation of odor restrictions could result in the loss of the license and hence the substantial investment. Ultimately this was a risk that was not worth taking,” Liskey wrote in a July memo to council. “Therefore, we sought out and have hooked up with an existing independent and locally-owned licensed adult-use grow facility, MM Agriculture LLC. This arrangement allows the elimination of growing marijuana at the property at 120 W. Grand River in Laingsburg and yet keeps our concept of providing a ‘farm to table’ fresh product and still affords local people to get into this business.”

Council member Brian Fredline spoke in support of the altered application during the July meeting, since it eliminates one of the city’s primary concerns — odor.

“What was our issue with the (microbusiness)? The smell. Well now what we’re doing is, taking that off the table and building a foundation where they’re not going to be growing it in town, they’ll be processing it just like Tammy’s Bakery turns flour into cinnamon rolls,” Fredline said previously. “They will be getting their raw product from elsewhere and then they will be doing the sales in town. That takes away our main concern, so I am absolutely in favor of this.”

Liskey said the company will begin construction in the coming weeks, though he did not indicate when the business would be prepared to open.

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