OWOSSO — The city council Monday approved buffer zone requirements for medical marijuana businesses that may seek to locate in the city.
The requirements represent changes from the city’s original medical marijuana ordinance. The planning commission altered the buffer zone requirements for facilities based on feedback.
“We tightened it up and made it better,” Planning Commission and council member Janae Fear said. “We originally missed the mark a little bit. Amy (Cyphert) discovered that when she was reviewing things when she came onboard. That’s really all it was.”
The buffer zones were set for each zoning district, which outlines where future marijuana businesses can set up shop.
“The Planning Commission conducted their own hearing for these changes,” City Manager Nate Henne said. “The measuring is much more specific than it was before. This all makes better sense because it’s more detailed, so there’s not a lot of confusion.”
There are five types of licenses for provisioning centers: Growers, testers, licensing, transport and production.
The standards for the provisioning centers include:
n May not be located within 200 feet of the real property comprising or used by a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school.
n May not be located within 100 feet of a residentially zoned structure.
n May not be located within 100 feet of a vacant residentially zoned parcel.
n No parcel containing a medical marijuana provisioning center shall be located within 100 feet of a parcel on which another medical marijuana provisioning center is located.
“Provisioning centers are like the storefront locations,” Henne said. “With a card, you can walk in to these centers and buy the marijuana. Those can be located in commercially zoned areas. Downtown, for example, is definitely eligible for that.”
Kasey Hadd, who lives at 639 Woodlawn, said she was in favor of marijuana businesses coming to Owosso because she has to travel long distances for marijuana she uses as a chronic pain patient.
“I feel that Owosso would greatly benefit from the medical marijuana dispensaries,” she said. “I have to drive a minimum of 45 minutes to be able to get my medication and I think it’s ridiculous. When I have to shop after I get it, that’s where I shop because I can’t come back to Owosso and shop. I have just a small window of time that I’m able to function, so I really think that the city would benefit financially.”
Hadd also believes marijuana would help reduce the deaths caused by opioid addiction.
“Basically we’re going to wait until the city is ready to accept applications for the businesses,” Mayor Chris Eveleth said. “We’re just waiting for some logistics to work out on that end. This provides better and further restrictions as to where the medical marijuana businesses can locate. Just like a bar they have to keep certain distances away from a school and church.”
Henne explained the zoning amendments were among the reasons a lottery for the provisioning centers was postponed last fall.
“Now that we have the buffer zones done I fully expect that at the next council meeting we will have a resolution authorizing the lottery window,” he said. “So we’re going to get that done too. There’s some people that are waiting to apply. I’ve had a lot of people give me their business cards and say they’re interested. Not one of them has applied for the other four licenses yet, so maybe one will apply to be a provisional center.”