From Mall to Marijuana ~ Monroe Township looks to cannabis

Monroe, Michigan by Ken Lund

Monroe, Michigan by Ken LundThe Toledo Blade reports that if all goes according to plan, a once-thriving outlet mall in Monroe Charter Township will find new life as a retail site with at least two growing facilities and three dispensaries:

The idea for turning the 22-acre center, which was known at one time as the Horizon Outlet Center, into a place for marijuana cultivation and dispensaries, largely belongs to Chris Harter, an entrepreneur who grew up in Monroe and now splits his time between his business interests in Atlanta and Michigan.

…“We already have a very high usage in Monroe County by marijuana card carriers for medical use. The township has shown great logic in moving toward ordinances allowing for growing and dispensaries,” Mr. Harter said.

“We’re not trying to make this a marijuana heaven. We’re trying to allow access to a product that’s already legal in the state,” he added.

Work to convert the outlet center’s insides into large-scale growing operations has already begun. Work also is proceeding in setting up three dispensaries, one of which will occupy the former Burger King on the outlet center lot.

…There is a moratorium on any marijuana growing or dispensary operation until the ordinance is passed.

“That’s all we’re waiting on now,” Mr. Harter said. “…It will dictate how far from schools we must be and things like that. They need to have these ordinances. If not, it would be pretty much a free-for-all within the state.”

The township tried to pass the ordinances late last year but had to restart the process after some county residents complained that the legislation was not passed correctly.

Alan Barron, Monroe Charter Township’s supervisor, said the refiled ordinances should end up before the township’s April 5 planning commission meeting, have a first public hearing before the township board on April 20, and then a final reading May 18 and likely adoption.

“Our marijuana ordinance will be here soon. There is a company that just pulled a $1.1 million building permit and there’s a couple of places there that are renovating out their space already,” Mr. Barron said. “With these marijuana growing operations and dispensaries, we hope that those businesses will bring other businesses.”

More in the Blade & see other southeast Michigan recreational dispensaries on our map!

photo credit: Monroe, Michigan by Ken Lund