Medical marijuana dispensary may open in Hesperia.
By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.
HESPERIA – The former Hesperia Variety Store building located downtown next to the village hall and police station may be converted into a medical marijuana dispensary and grow facility, according to village officials.
“I’m hoping it will help with business and help the community,” said Village President Mike Farber. Many retail spaces downtown are vacant as several businesses have closed over the last few years.
The village council “opted in” for medical marijuana dispensaries last October. The council passed a moratorium, which is a temporary ban, on recreational marijuana sales for up to one year on Dec. 17. The council will vote Monday, Jan. 14, on a medical marijuana facilities ordinance. If the ordinance passes, the developers can apply for a permit.
If the ordinance doesn’t meet council approval, then it will be back to drawing board to draft a new ordinance, Farber said.
The retail space at 9 E. Michigan Avenue was sold to Douglas Development III, LLC, and the dispensary would operate as Hesperia Wellness LLC, said Village Clerk Vicki Burrell. “It was purchased by a group of investors.” The developers have already repaired the building’s roof, Farber said.
One of the developers involved, Gina Yob, spoke to the council during the Oct. 8 meeting when the council voted to “opt in.” Yob said the developers are investing a half million dollars into the building, according to meeting minutes. “She said that she hopes this will help Hesperia flourish again.”
Yob also explained that no one without a card and driver’s license would be allowed to enter the facility.
She told the council that Oceana County is ranked 10th in the State of Michigan for medical marijuana card holders, and Newaygo County is ranked 31st out of 83 counties, according to the minutes.
Developer Chuck Yob said that “he went to his investors and fought very hard to get them to bring their investment to Hesperia,” the minutes state. “He brought up how we did not have to worry about security, because his investors will make sure that the Michigan laws are followed and they would spare no expense for security. He urged us not to pass on this opportunity,” the minutes state.
Farber said the business would create 15-25 new jobs in Hesperia.
“This is for medical marijuana only – not recreational,” the village president said. “There have been very few negative comments on medical marijuana, but recreational is another story.”
“I am very pro-business as long as it’s regulated right.” Farber hopes the new business will trigger more growth in the dwindling downtown. “I would hate to see this town die.”
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