GRAND RAPIDS (TNS) — Grand Rapids officials have approved plans for three more medical marijuana provisioning centers, with two of the facilities also able to grow the marijuana.
The first proposed dispensary approved Thursday, Sept. 13, by the Grand Rapids Planning Commission is located at 330 Ann St. NW, near the U.S. 131 on-ramp. It will also grow and process medical marijuana.
The second approved application is a dispensary and grow operation located at 2350 29th St. SE, about a mile southwest of Woodland Mall.
The last application approved Thursday is solely a dispensary planned to be located at 910 28th St. SE, which is near Eastern Avenue SE.
Due to its proximity to a park and two churches, the 28th Street dispensary required three waivers to approve. The planning commission granted all three.
City ordinance requires proposed medical marijuana facilities to be located at least 1,000 feet away from public park spaces and religious institutions, among other places. The requirement, though, can be waived.
The 28th street location is just under 1,000 feet from Ken-O-Sha Park, about 600 feet southwest of the Branch Church and about 900 feet from the Bosnian Cultural Center, a mosque.
The Grand Rapids City Commission supported the park distance waiver, and Branch Church leaders supported the religious institution waiver.
“We came to the conclusion to go and support this, because we thought it doesn’t affect our faith and our process and our worship,” Ricky Velazquez, a co-pastor at the church, told the planning commission. “In fact, it really helps our mission as far as getting the area better.”
The Bosnian Cultural Center opposed the waiver. In a statement to the planning commission, the center wrote that mosque leadership has “agreed that this store goes against our faith traditions and our values.”
Members from the mosque did not attend the Thursday planning commission meeting.
The planning commission determined there wasn’t sufficient evidence showing the dispensary would negatively impact the mosque and activities there.
Grand Rapids has approved a total of 14 medical marijuana facilities so far, with dozens more still awaiting review. With each new permit issued, another application might be voided for being too close to that newly approved facility.