KALAMAZOO, MI — A recreational pot shop or a cannabis consumption lounge could be coming to a spot in downtown Kalamazoo, or a storefront near you. Though there will be restrictions where specific types of marijuana businesses can locate.
Months after other communities in Michigan welcomed recreational marijuana businesses into their communities, Kalamazoo is taking longer, and working to hit a June 1 target to pass a recreational marijuana ordinance. Officials acknowledge that plan could change because of adjustments to the process forced by the coronavirus outbreak.
The city’s proposed ordinance would allow for several different types of recreational marijuana businesses, including consumption lounges, retail stores, growers, safety compliance facilities, microbusinesses and marijuana events. Some of the categories are similar to other businesses the city already allows under the medical marijuana ordinance, but some categories are brand new, such as the consumption lounge, which allows marijuana use at the establishment, and microbusiness, which allows growing, processing and sale onsite.
One new aspect of the proposed ordinance is it would allow some marijuana businesses downtown, Assistant City Planner Pete Eldridge said. Under the proposal, recreational marijuana shops, as well as consumption lounges, could locate downtown.
Under existing medical marijuana rules, marijuana businesses are not allowed downtown, he said.
The city held a series of input meetings this year, and moved the process to a virtual format for its latest meeting in April after the governor issued guidance discouraging gatherings die to the coronavirus pandemic. At 7 p.m. on April 15, the planning commission will hold a virtual meeting to consider a draft zoning ordinance to outline where future marijuana businesses could be established.
The proposed zoning rules includes regulations for all marijuana establishments, and states they must not operate within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing private or public school, providing kindergarten or any grades 1 through 12, and must not operate within 500 feet of a pre-existing State-licensed childcare center. None can locate in residential zoned neighborhoods, according to the proposed regulations.
The city of Kalamazoo has produced proposed zoning maps for each of the five categories of businesses with a zoning component: Consumption lounges, retailers, growers, microbusinesses, and safety compliance facility. The proposed zoning regulations also include spacing requirements for the different businesses.
Below is the proposed zoning locations for marijuana consumption lounges, which would be permitted in the Commercial Central Business District, which includes downtown Kalamazoo, and Community Commercial (CC) zoned areas.
Besides parks and bodies of water, the proposed maps also show “buffer” zones around schools and childcare centers, to denote where recreational businesses could not locate.
Some of the businesses, such as retailers, cannot set up within a certain distance of existing medical marijuana provisioning centers. Those buffer zones are also included in the proposed zoning map for microbusinesses and retailers. The spacing requirements limits the options for where the businesses can operate.
There will be no cap on the number of businesses, according to the proposed regulations.
Click each link below to see a high resolution version of each proposed zoning map. Each map states the zoning each business type will be allowed to locate, and shows those zoning designations on the map:
- Consumption lounge – Community Commercial (CC) and Commercial Central Business District (CCBD).
- Safety Compliance – Community Commercial (CC) , Live Work 1 (LW-1), Live Work 2 (LW-2), Commercial, Business, Technology and Research (CBTR), Limited Manufacturing (M-1), and General Manufacturing (M-2).
- Microbusiness – Community Commercial (CC), Live Work 2 (LW-2), Limited Manufacturing (M-1), and General Manufacturing (M-2).
- Retailer – Live Work 1 (LW-1), Community Commercial (CC), and Commercial Central Business District (CCBD).
- Grower – Community Commercial (CC), Limited Manufacturing (M-1), and General Manufacturing (M-2).
As part of the city’s social equity component of the ordinance, the zoning requirements would give special status to business owners who either live in one of several identified census tracts in the city, or if they have an approved previous conviction on their record, in some cases giving those businesses a different separation requirement, allowing the owners to locate their business closer to other marijuana businesses.
The April 15 meeting will be help on the Zoom platform and will include public hearings on the proposed amendments to the zoning code to permit adult use marijuana businesses, the city said.
The meeting will be streamed live on the city’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel. Members of the public may provide public comments starting at 6:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. by calling 269-226-6573 and leaving a recording. Comments will be played during the public comment portion of the hearing on the adult use (recreational) marijuana ordinance, according to the city.
For more information about the proposed ordinances, visit kalamazoocity.org/adultusemarihuana and view the video presentation below:
Community members may submit questions, comments or feedback on the draft ordinance by emailing email@example.com.