Cannabis plants grow in the greenhouse at Vireo Health's medical marijuana cultivation facility on Aug. 19, 2016 in Johnstown, New York. (Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

Michigan township sets up medical marijuana industrial park for growing, producing, testing

Via The Associated Press. The following editorial was published in the Lansing State Journal, October 26:

Windsor Township’s plan to build a 130-acre medical marijuana industrial park is both smart and strategic.

It seizes on the opportunity of this burgeoning industry, promises to create jobs, will bring in new tax dollars and sets the township on a solid foundation for future projects.

The development – called Harvest Park – also could make Greater Lansing and the state of Michigan a national hub for the production and inspection of medical marijuana.

“I think the location is perfect,” said Jeff Donahue, a Lansing native and Harvest Park Development LLC’s managing director. “It’s an area ripe for development.”

It’s also an industry ripe for development.

Studies show legal market sale of medical marijuana is estimated to become a $22 billion industry by 2020. Experts estimate Michigan could take in $700 million or more if opportunities like Harvest Park are realized.

The key for Windsor Township is the early collaboration on the concept between township officials and stakeholders. A June ordinance provides for licensing and regulation of the park. These parameters will allow for the development to proceed with clarity of expectations.

The industrial park plan includes 10 parcels for tenants – which may include medical marijuana cultivators, processors, secure transporters, testing labs and suppliers – and could create up to 1,000 jobs. It could be completed by spring.

Others in the region – most notably the City of Lansing – could take notes on this strategic approach to embracing a new industry. Lansing City Council debated an ordinance for over two years, which allowed dispensaries to proliferate and has created an administrative snarl now that state law caught up and rendered them illegal.

Now Lansing has a mess to sort out. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Windsor Township, on the other hand, created a plan, secured buy-in and is moving forward openly. Medical marijuana, legal in Michigan and 28 other states, is here to stay and patients need to know they have access to quality, regulated products.

The industrial park’s investors seem committed to providing that access – to Michiganders and others – in a way that leverages a growth opportunity.

That’s a smart strategy.

Information from the Lansing State Journal