The Lancing Marijuana Industry Is Overgrowing
Lansing State Journal. Mar. 17, 2016
Lansing marijuana industry overgrown.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is considering a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries in light of a strongly-worded call to action from business leaders.
This is a good move, although one to cause certain strife between government and dispensary owners.
Halting a growing industry rarely is a desired course of action for a city or region. Blocked progress and slowed momentum are significant issues in business development.
However, concerns with the medical marijuana industry are valid and must be addressed.
Plagued by a lack of regulation and slow-moving discussion, entrepreneurial types have taken it upon themselves to proliferate to the point of more than 60 provisioning centers and dispensaries in the city of Lansing alone.
More than 30 businesses applied for licenses in 2015; they were turned down as a violation of state law.
And yet the industry continues to grow.
Concerns raised by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce should be of concern to us all: safe access for patients, quality assurance, strong enforcement, zoning, the application process, testing of products and appropriate fees.
These are regulations most other businesses operate under; why not medical marijuana dispensaries?
Michigan legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 2008. In 2011, City Council passed an ordinance to regulate the lancing marijuana industry. Yet there is still no licensing or regulatory process.
This issue must be addressed on two fronts. First, licensing and regulations must be enacted and enforced to ensure all business owners have an equal chance to grow within the industry.
Second, broad-impact guidelines need to take into account a threshold for the number of dispensaries and how this growing area reflects on the city’s reputation.
Bernero should urge the City Council to place a moratorium on new businesses, and then institute a swift plan to bring this growing industry out of limbo in a way that benefits consumers, businesses and the region.
It has been eight years since voters in Michigan approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons.
It has been five years since an ordinance to regulate dispensaries passed in Lansing.
It’s high time to bring this issue to the top of the agenda and make a plan.
Without it, the Lansing weed industry will continue to be overgrown.___