Medical Marijuana Coming To Saline

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Marijuana is not coming to Saline this week, but it could be coming to the edges of Saline by mid-summer. Saline’s City Council approved a proposal with the task force assigned to Council the city on how to best accommodate the ascendant medical marijuana industries by approving the adoption of certain types of businesses into the city masterplan, Monday evening; but it won’t go into effect immediately.

The adversary body will now meet again in order to establish the forms and fee structure that new medical marijuana businesses will have to go through in establishing their new businesses. Once that is done, they will bring the draft proposal back to the Council for final approval in the July 12 meeting.

“Assuming that passes on July 12, and it will, I would expect that it would go into effect, and they would be able to process applications almost immediately,” Mayor Brian Marl told the Sun Times News after the conclusion of the June 21 meeting.

To be clear, what Saline is proposing is to move forward on medical marijuana only. Recreational marijuana facilities will be considered in the future. And given Saline’s relatively small size, Councilor Janet Dillon expressed concern about potentially losing control over the number of medical marijuana facilities that would be allowed in Saline.

“My concern is that we will use up all of our space with medical and all of the revenue is in recreational,” marijuana, Dillon said, before voting in favor of the measure, along with the rest of the Council. 

Provisioning centers would have to be at least 250 feet apart from each other and 1,000 feet away from any school. And given Saline’s geography, that means that any marijuana-based business that moves into the city would have to stay at least 1,000 feet from schools, that severely limits where businesses could be located.

And since this limitation includes Henne Field, that means that downtown Saline will have no medicinal or recreational marijuana dispensary. Any marijuana facility that comes to Saline would have to establish itself on the outskirts of town.

The ordinance allows the city to welcome marijuana processor operations, provisioning centers, secure transportation and safety compliance operations. According to Assistant City Manager Mike Greene, businesses will be allowed to operate both medicinal and recreational operations in the same building but would have to be approved through two separate applications.

One portion of the marijuana industry that is not on the cards for Saline is growing marijuana.

“It’s very taxing on public utilities,” to grow marijuana in a city, Mayor Pro Tem Dean Girbach said. “It’s a lot of water, a lot of electricity.”

And that is something that Saline cannot afford to allow at the moment. Saline’s ageing wastewater facility is being overhauled and massively expanded as most of the equipment is either at or well past its useful life and is projected to very quickly become inadequate for the needs of the community as Saline’s population continues to grow. And since the city is already spending tens of millions of dollars improving and expanding its utility, there is no practical opportunity, or political will, to allow a grow operation to set up within Saline city limits.

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