FENNVILLE — The city of Fennville is considering allowing medical marijuana businesses to set up shop in the city, mirroring the city’s regulations already in place for recreational marijuana business.
The ordinances, if passed, would limit the total number of medical and recreational marijuana shops allowed in the city to two and would prohibit the businesses from the central business district on East Main Street.
Fennville was one of the first Allegan County communities to vote to allow recreational marijuana businesses after voters legalized adult-use marijuana in Michigan in 2018.
The Fennville City Commission adopted an ordinance laying out the regulations for recreational businesses in February and voted in April to ban recreational pot shops from the downtown district.
According to city administrator Amanda Morgan, the Fennville Planning Commission felt the city should permit medical marijuana businesses, because it now allows recreational businesses.
The medical marijuana ordinances before the commission would mirror the regulations for recreational pot, but would not increase the existing limits on the number of marijuana businesses allowed in the city.
Two of each type of business — retailer, grower, processor, transporter, microbusiness and safety compliance establishment — are allowed in the city under existing ordinances.
With the addition of medical marijuana businesses, the total number allowed in the city won’t change, under the proposed ordinances.
Mayor Tom Pantelleria opposed the limits on the number of marijuana businesses, saying he didn’t want to have to say no to one of the three people who have expressed interest in opening dispensaries in Fennville. He said he believed the city should leave it up to the free market to regulate the number of businesses.
“The market will determine rather quickly if three is too many,” Pantelleria said during Monday’s meeting, which was conducted with some commissioners meeting in person and some joining via Zoom videoconferencing.
Two people have submitted applications for licenses to open recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city and a third person has expressed interest, according to city officials.
One of the two applicants is Patricia Dewenter, who purchased the old Fennville City Hall when the city moved its offices to 125 Maple St.
Dewenter plans to open a marijuana shop in the former municipal building this fall.
The city commission is expected to vote on the medical marijuana ordinances on Sept. 8.
— Contact reporter Carolyn Muyskens at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @cjmuyskens.