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Pandemic ripple effects, like construction backlog, hurt intended new businesses

Updated


MANISTEE — After the city of Manistee approved initial permits for a handful of intended marijuana businesses last fall, Manistee has yet to see any locations open for business.

Part of it is a ripple effect from restrictions to construction in the state earlier this spring stemming from measures put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to discussions during the Manistee City Council meeting Wednesday evening.

Those provisional permits are only valid for one year and at least one marijuana business leader reported that after delays and inability to start or finish construction due to the pandemic, the permits could expire before businesses could open.

At the meeting, council approved an amendment to an ordinance that grants an extension to those businesses already holding permits and now gives them until April 1 to finish their projects.


According to the agenda, “parties that were issued provisional permits and provisional licenses have been unable to complete construction projects required to obtain final inspection from the state and approval of their state of Michigan license.”

That means they are unable to get the final permits and licenses from the city and open within a year from the start of the process.


City Manager Thad Taylor explained that the current provisional permits and licenses are set to expire Oct. 24

“One of the things to consider, one of the effects of the restrictions imposed by the state (previously) was that the construction trades were shut down for between six and eight weeks,” Taylor said.


RELATED: Medical marijuana business expects to be open by fall

Trevor Wisniewski, president of Great Lakes Natural Remedies, requested in a letter to the city, an extension on the 240 Arthur St. project.

In early March, Wisniewski told the News Advocate that he planned to open a medical and adult-use location that he hoped would open this summer.

“If everything goes according to plan, with no setbacks, we could have our project completed by Dec. 31 of this year. However, given the pandemic, there are outside forces that could continue to affect our timeline.”

He said Great Lakes Naturals “has had many setbacks due to COVID-19 this year.”

“The pandemic continues to interfere with our schedule,” Wisniewski said in his letter. “Back in March, prior to all the shutdowns, we had the attached architectural drawing completed. Our architect was on hiatus for a couple months during the shutdown and now is backed up on all his projects.”

He told the city that Great Lakes Natural Remedies “is serious about completing this project in Manistee…”

Wisniewski said the current goal is to submit plans to the city in the next two weeks for building permits. The letter was not dated.

RELATED: New marijuana store to open in Manistee, president aims to donate toward local conservation

See the full council meeting here:


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