Harrisville OKs marijuana app

Property purchased on US-23 for medical, recreational shop

HARRISVILLE — Harrisville is one step closer to having a medical and recreational marijuana provisioning center after the City council on Monday unanimously approved a permit application.

The application approved Monday includes a special-use permit that will allow Marvin Karana, of the Southfield-based Cam Club to move forward in the permitting process. Karana has purchased property on U.S.-23 adjacent to the Ole Dairy Dome.

Mayor Jeff Gehring told council members the application packet had some initial deficiencies, such as a few missing signatures and missing proof that the site plans were designed by a licensed engineer or architect, but those deficiencies had since been corrected.

Gehring said he wasn’t concerned about the application or applicant. He said the packet was “excellent” and he could tell it was professionally done.

“You could tell it was done by somebody that was well-organized and was done by somebody who has been through this process before, which he has been,” Gehring said. “He has multiple provisioning centers around the state.”

Gehring said he will now draft a letter saying Karana has met all of the city’s criteria and his application has been approved by the city zoning commissioner, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. He said the applicant can now begin the licensing process with the state.

The state has yet to finalize its regulations for recreational marijuana, but medical marijuana shops have been operating for some time. Michigan voters legalized recreational marijuana in the state in November.

“Once he comes back with all of his licensing information from the state, then we’ll issue him a final permit,” he said.

Alderman Jim Ferguson said he would like to see the city establish revenue and expenditure line items in the city budget so it could track what the city does with its money from marijuana.

“Because, years down the road, the question is going to come up, ‘What did you do with all of that money you made selling marijuana?,’ and we need to be able to answer that,” Ferguson said. “We need to be able to lay it out so everybody can see it.”

Gehring said he has spoken about that issue with Tom Keerl, the city’s outgoing treasurer, as well as with city Attorney Dave Cook, and with Barb Luenberger, the council’s mayor pro tempore who was named treasurer on Monday. Discussions will continue.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

In other business

The Harrisville City Council on Wednesday also:

∫ unanimously approved a settlement that saves the city from a fight at the Michigan Tax Tribunal for a number of properties in the city. The amount of the settlement was not immediately available. Mayor Jeff Gehring said the city could have fought the property owners, but the return on investment would have been “virtually nothing.” The case is ongoing.

∫ named Alderman Jim Ferguson as mayor pro tempore to replace Barb Luenberger, who was named treasurer on Monday. Because a council member cannot also hold the position of treasurer, Luenberger’s seat representing the city’s Ward III is now vacant.

∫ appointed Tom Keerl as deputy treasurer to help Luenberger transition into the treasurer’s post. Keerl resigned from the treasurer’s position last month to focus on his role with the city’s Public Works Department.