Village to consider more marijuana-related requests

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – For those seeking evidence of the potential impact the medical marijuana industry could have on Kalkaska, they might want to look at the upcoming agendas of various village boards and committees.

One example might be the agenda for the Kalkaska Village Planning Commission set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Kalkaska Village Offices on Hyde Street.

The meeting is set to include public hearings on three different items – all related to the village’s budding medical marijuana industry.

The hearings include one request to rezone a property on Hyde Street from residential to industrial. A second will seek input on a request to allow for renovation and upgrades to a 7,040-square-foot structure on Maple Street for a Class A “medical cannabis cultivation facility.”

And, yet a third, will also involve a site plan for the interior renovation to a 3,500-square-foot building on Chestnut Street for a cultivation facility.

“We have just scheduled a special Planning Commission meeting for later in the month to consider yet another site plan, as well,” said Harley Wales, Kalkaska village president.

Village officials have often boasted before that Kalkaska is ahead of the curve, as far as adopting medical marijuana ordinances, including zoning regulations, to provide oversight of potential grow operations and related businesses.

The village council passed its first medical marijuana ordinance in 2014, providing local regulations for dispensaries that were already in operation at the time. That was after voters statewide approved the use of marijuana for patients with certain medical conditions in 2008.

The topic is also a regular agenda item for the village council, with code enforcement officer Denny Carrado providing council members with updates related to any changes locally in the industry.

And, earlier this fall, at least two medical marijuana companies announced they were hiring in anticipation of opening new operations in Kalkaska, with one hosting a job fair at a local resort.

Village Manager Scott Yost has referred to the possibility of Kalkaska to be on the leading edge of municipalities building a local economy on the medical marijuana industry as a potential “boom” for the area.

“Our philosophy is this is the third boom for the Kalkaska area,” Yost said previously. “The first was the lumber era, the second was oil and natural gas and this is the newest opportunity. 

“Village government’s goal is to manage the process to provide job opportunities for our residents while we preserve our way of life,” he added.

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