09-26-2019 Hartford City hopes to sell 9 acres to multi-million dollar cannabusiness operation; Hall

MACI RAE FUNDRAISER NEXT SUNDAY! It is extremely difficult to comprehend that this smiling face afflicted with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that has devastated the world of Maci and parents Lindsey (Drake) Rosen and her husband Justin. Now residing in Berrien Springs, Lindsey is a 2009 Hartford grad with a tremendous contingent of friends and family in the Hartford area hosting a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser next Sunday, Oct. 6 at Hartford High School from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Hartford High School Cafeteria. The event will feature a 50/50 Raffle, Bake Sale and Silent Auction to support the Rosens on their lengthy road to Maci’s recovery from this challenge no family should ever have to endure. Please attend to support this beautiful little girl and her parents as they battle through the most difficult time a young family could face! Tickets available at the door; Adults $6.00, Kids $3.00.

Hartford City hopes to sell 9 acres to multi-million dollar cannabusiness operation

By Jon Bisnett Hartford City Commissioners formally approved a notice of intent to sell the city-owned nine-acre piece of vacant property located west of Marion Avenue for the amount of $75,000 in a tentative agreement with medical marijuana growing company at their September 23 regular business meeting. Great Lakes Grow proposes developing the currently vacant lot into a $7 million growing and processing facility, pending State licensing approval. The state of the art grow and processing operation encompassing the need for three Class C Licenses to produce 4,500 plants. Further promising preferential local hiring and construction services, Great Lakes has stated the intention to create and fund a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to supplement the city’s police and fire services.

City Manager Yemi Akinwale said the formal sale agreement will be presented to the City Commission at a later date. Commissioners have touted the benefit potential to the city by virtue of not only application and permit fees, but also the added tax revenue from the property with a significant building added to a long-time vacant parcel. To be clear, the proposed GLG business model will grow and process medical marijuana in a secure building which features both air and water recycling via the most modern indoor cultivation methods. No dispensary sales to medical marijuana card holders will take place at the site under the intended use. Hartford’s first provisioning center (dispensary) is on track to open this fall. Med+Leaf is in the final stages of construction, slated to open October 1 at their location of 309 West Main Street.

A headline in another local publication recently announced the city expanded to allow 26 licenses for medical marijuana business. Although mathematically correct, one can be mislead without knowing that GLG will stack three grow licenses and one processing license. Med+Leaf occupies one for provisioning, while another business proposes a dispensary and multi-tiered grow operation on land split from the Hartford Speedway property. Yet another concern has expressed interest in a provisioning center to be located at the former Hoekzema Ford building on West Main. Technically 26 licenses would be distributed among four separate business entities, the largest of which with no public access.

Hartford’s initial medical marijuana ordinance of November 2017 permitted only one of each license category. The revised ordinance now allows five Class A (500 plants) growing licenses, three Class B (1,000 plants) growing licenses and five Class C (1,500 plants) growing licenses. The ordinance additionally allows five processing facilities, two secure transporters, four dispensaries and two test lab safety compliance facilities. The expansion of the ordinance was unanimously approved just a week ago at the September workshop meeting.

By local comparison, the City of Bangor now has two dispensaries, Breedsville has one, while Watervliet Township is currently reviewing request for special use permits for two dispensaries, both to be located north of 1-94, just south of the city limits.

Communications Incumbent Dennis Goss has chosen not to file again for office, leaving an open seat for Commissioner in the upcoming November election. Goss originally went into office as a write-in candidate. His replacement apparently will be subject to the same process with a declaration deadline of October 25. Should no write-in applicants declare, the council will then be obligated to appoint a commissioner to serve until the next election in 2020.

Guests/Public comment Emily Hickmont, of the Van Buren County Conservation District office made her annual visit to update commissioners on activities in the area. Minutes & Reports archived Departmental Reports for August and minutes from the September 16 Workshop and August 26 Business Meeting were approved and archived.