The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood Planning Commission receives marijuana facility input


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

CHANDRA PORTELL addresses the Ironwood Planning Commission on Thursday at a listening session on locating a marjuana facility in the city. David Shouldice is in the front.


Ironwood - Three people spoke in favor of Ironwood adopting an ordinance to allow marijuana facilities in the city and one was opposed at a Thursday listening session conducted by the Ironwood Planning Commission.

The planning commission will decide the matter at a future meeting.

Ironwood Community Development Director Tom Bergman said if the planning commission doesn't adopt an ordinance, there can be no facility in the city under the new Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act which takes effect at the end of the year.

David Shouldice said he is considering a marijuana facility in the industrial park in the former Cayuga building, near Pisani Distributing. He said from 50 to 80 jobs would be created. "Our community certainly needs good jobs," he said.

Shouldice said most of the marijuana processed at the facility would be shipped to the lower peninsula, where the market is greater. Some employees would produce edible marijuana products, he said.

Chandra Portell said a petition to legalize marijuana for all Michigan adults, not just for medicinal purposes, will likely be on the ballot in 2018. She said many people would move to Ironwood if the ballot measure passes and the city could benefit from a facility.

She advised a waste plan be created if such a facility is allowed in the city.

Shouldice said the operator of a manufacturing facility would need five licenses that would cost $5,000 apiece and the city would stand to gain around $100,000 annually from a facility.

Richard Duncanson said it would be up to the planning commission to decide where a facility would be located and noted Bessemer is also a possibility. He said an ex-NFL player is interested in financing such a facility.

Answering a question, Duncanson said current small-growing operations, such as those located in basements of houses, would likely be knocked out of business if a facility came in.

Now, he said the small growers are limited to 72 plants.

Linda Tilley urged the planning commission to zone carefully because she said the odor next to a property she owns has been "horrendous."

Planning commissioners asked questions during the session, but did not offer pro and con comments.


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