An eager industry

Alexander Sinn • Jun 13, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Anticipating the city’s upcoming medical marijuana ordinance, the previously banned industry is already showing an interest in Grand Haven.

Hilary Dulaney, who owns medical marijuana operations in Michigan and Oregon, is in the market for properties in Grand Haven.

Last month, the City of Sturgis approved a provisioning center owned by Dulaney and business partners. The Monroe native also partners with a facility in Ann Arbor and owns a grow facility and processing plant in Oregon.

The business owner said she is waiting to see where the Grand Haven Planning Commission decides to allow the industry, and which of the five types of establishments to allow. She said a local operation would provide living wages and health benefits.

Dulaney said patients need improved access to medical products, such as provided at provisioning centers.

“The medical side of this truly does help people,” she said. “I hope that (planning commissioners) treat it like pharmacies or things of that nature, because we have to be able to give people access where they’re not driving around in dark areas. It’s not a dirty thing, so I don’t want it to be treated as a dirty thing.”

Dulaney said medical marijuana operations boost ancillary businesses — dry ice companies, security firms, gas companies, carpenters, printers — that help facilitate the new industry. She said the establishments boost local property values, while tax revenues support the city.

Dulaney said she is among the few who succeed in the industry. According to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, provisioning center licenses can cost as much as $66,000. Regulations in Michigan are amended frequently.

Dulaney and partners lost lotteries in both Traverse City and Grand Rapids despite years of experience in the industry, she said.

“We watched people in Oregon lose their life savings,” she said. “Everyone that we started out with in the beginning, no one is in the business anymore. There are so many pitfalls in regular business operation that can take you down very easily. Here, there are pitfalls on the hour.”

The Planning Commission met Tuesday to discuss the ordinance, and will consider next month whether state regulations will help rule out any of the five establishments from having a place in Grand Haven.

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