Grand Rapids, Michigan has decided not to delay the acceptance of recreational marijuana business applications nor freeze the ongoing medical marijuana application process.

It was on Tuesday that the Grand Rapids city commissioners voted in a 4-2 decision to reverse a previous vote that was made at a committee meeting 12 hours earlier.

The vote had put a six-month moratorium on those applications.

The moratorium was proposed by Third Ward City Commissioner Senita Lenear, who would have frozen the 14 medical marijuana facility applications currently awaiting planning commission approval. It would not change the status of the 24 medical marijuana facilities already approved however.

According to Lenear’s argument, the city’s medical marijuana ordinance has not had the desired outcome of allowing local representation into the industry. She wanted a pause to restructure the existing medical marijuana ordinance and the proposed recreational and medical changes so they bring “equitable outcomes for people who live within the city” and “more local presence.”

Out of Grand Rapids’ 24 accepted medical marijuana applications, less than five have majority local ownership. “Several” have some percentage of local ownership, according to the city.

“There are (14) applications. How many of them will accomplish the equitable goal?” Lenear asked her colleagues. “We can’t use words and keep using buzzwords and think it’s cute when it’s convenient. This is one of those moments where we have to vote what we keep saying and stand for something.”

Denavvia Mojet, corporate impact strategist with Fluresh, remarked, “The city of Grand Rapids knew we needed equity we didn’t just realize we had a problem today. I’m just super frustrated because we know that equity is important and the city staff dragged their feet on it, and now we have an entire industry of people who are questioning whether or not Grand Rapids is the market for them, because we’re stalling on their ability to make a profit and that’s not what we wanted.”

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