The city’s planning commission voted in favor of the dispensary, which is still a contentious issue within Westland. Some parts of town have celebrated its approval while others are against it. Experts say marijuana has been legal for years in Michigan and that cannabis dispensaries will continue to open up across the state as long as they’re not too close to schools or residential areas.
Plans to build a new marijuana dispensary on Ford Road in Westland have advanced another stage.
During its meeting on Dec. 1 at Westland City Hall, the city’s planning commission considered and recommended permission to the city council for the building of a marijuana retail outlet at 37655 Ford Road. The property will be occupied by Common Citizen, a Marshall-based firm with retail sites in Flint, Battle Creek, Hazel Park, and a medical marijuana store in Detroit. According to the firm’s website, other sites planned for the company include Lansing and Pontiac.
Mike Beck, the company’s director of community and government relations, said, “We’ve got a number of other irons in the fire, but we’re extremely thrilled about coming here.”
Common Citizen plans to utilize the location, which is halfway between Newburgh and Hix, as a marijuana retail store. Commissioner David Rappaport said what’s planned on the Ford Road site is a big improvement over another local dispensary, Michigan’s Finest, which debuted last year in Wayne, after looking at the facility’s designs.
“The projected facility is extremely lovely,” he stated.
“I feel that a step like this, and a facility like this… goes a long way toward neutralizing some of the harsh language that’s gone around with marijuana usage,” says the author.
The planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the site plan and special land use. It will now be reviewed and decided upon by the municipal council.
Licensing for marijuana is being challenged in court.
The request comes as litigation over the city’s selection process for selecting firms to give marijuana licenses continues to make its way through the legal system, months after the commission initially heard and recommended approval of a lot split at the site this past summer.
Companies who were not chosen by the city to continue ahead with the application process filed several lawsuits in March. Those lawsuits began in Wayne County Circuit Court and have now progressed through that court to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
During the public hearing section of the meeting to consider the plan, attorney Tim Diemer, who represents one of the rejected firms, reminded the commissioners of this.
Diemer stated that now that the matter has been appealed to a higher court, another injunction might be imposed, halting any further development, albeit no such order was in place at the time of the meeting.
“We’ll be back in front of the judge addressing the scoring rubric and be back to square one, going through everything all over again,” he said, predicting that the previous court verdict will be reversed.
“These representations are amazing… but I heard destruction and other measures were being planned, and I’m here to try to put a stop to it.”
Diemer said he has filed a request with the state Court of Appeals to reimpose the injunction, and that he expects a judgment by the end of the month.
Given the lack of a status quo order, Rappaport believes that delaying the filing of a petition for site plan and special land use might affect the applicant, who has the legal right to proceed with the planning process.
“One of the challenges we have to struggle with up here as a representation of both the citizens and the city as functions is that we not only have to consider justice to you and maybe your customers, but we also have to consider fairness to the petitioner who is before us,” he added.
“We would have unduly prolonged the process for the petitioner in front of us if we were to be extraordinarily kind and generous and postpone our proceedings for you and your clients, and you potentially have the potential not to be successful in your appeals.”
“At this time, we are under no responsibility not to proceed.”