2017-10-08 / Front Page

Village council approves growing/processing operation

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

VILLAGE OF CHESANING – During its Oct. 3 meeting, the Chesaning Village Council approved the license application for a medical marijuana growing and processing facility; but tabled the decision to deter­mine which of the five dispensary applicants would have the village’s approval for the two licenses allowed by ordinance.

The room was filled with applicants and Chesaning residents. The audience didn’t respond at that point.

Before the applicants began their presentations, vil­lage councilman Michael Cicalo read a statement that began, “I believe this council is on the wrong path with medical marijuana.” He explained why he felt that way.

LEAF CHESANING, LLC

Jason Palko spoke on behalf of Vincenzo Celani on the proposed marijuana growing and processing facility at 624 Brady St., under the name of Leaf Chesaning, LLC.

After Leaf Chesaning LLC was approved by the council, the meeting continued with the review of the five applications received for the two medical marijuana dispensary licenses allowed by village ordinance.

CHESANING PROVISIONING CENTER

Jermaine Dickens addressed the council concern­ing the dispensary application of Kimberly Basehart Gaetano and Richard Gaetano, Jr. They want to open a medical marijuana dispensary called Chesaning Provisioning Center, LLC at 139 S. Saginaw St. Dickens described the company as “one of the most seasoned” for dispensaries in Michigan. He explained the organization purchases dilapidated old buildings and renovates them. He said their Detroit dispensa­ry has 40 employees, but in Chesaning would hire approximately 15 people.

“We hire from the immediate area. We find that if we take care of the community, the community takes care of us. We understand there is a lot of fear and uncertainty about the business,” Dickens said.

He explained their goal is to provide the medicine people need. He described the security system as most sophisticated and talked about how they had provided local police with access to recordings of their high-res­olution security footage.

“We’re on the east side of Detroit, one of the most impoverished areas, and we haven’t had any problems,” Dickens said.

THE RELEAF CENTER

Mike Lumetta addressed the council representing a group called The ReLeaf Center LLC under the company MLM Holding LLC. He proposes opening a dispensary at 144 W. Broad St., which is the former Gewirtz Hardware building.

The building has 4,000 square feet, of which 2,000 square feet would be used as the medical marijuana provisioning center. The rest of the space he wants to see turned into a coffee shop, with apartments upstairs.

Lumetta said they intend to hire between five and 10 people at competitive wages.

“We’re also going to be pursuing a processing license and a growing license. We have a system where veter­ans and low-income individuals can get lower rates.”

They plan to use a carbon filter and an ozone gener­ator to prevent odor issues, and also included a security plan to prevent any possible break-ins.

Lumetta said, “We are compliant with the distance from schools and churches. Our customers only spend 15 to 20 minutes [at the dis­pensary]. We have a safe room. We have cameras monitoring.”

Lumetta explained they respect the com­munity. Their patients must sign an agree­ment not to use the product onsite, or even in their vehicle in the parking area.

THE GREENERY WELLNESS CENTER

Dale and Sarah Roth addressed the coun­cil about opening The Greenery Wellness Center at 135 N. Front St., the former location of Arthur’s Pizza in Chesaning.

Dale Roth said they purchased the building in July. He explained they will be tearing down the bowling alley portion of the building, the rest will be remodeled. (During their planning commission appearance, Dale Roth said the building’s bowling alley would be torn down to make room for parking.)

“There’s no consumption on the site. It is not open to the public. There’s no loitering on the property. There’s no signage on the building.”

“We’re both from the Montrose-Clio area. We’re local, your mom and pa busi­ness,” Sarah Roth said. (During the planning commission meeting, they said 40 percent of their clientele are Chesaning people.)

Sarah Roth said, “We know we won’t be welcome in Montrose in a few months. We’d have six to 10 employees, earning $10 to $20 per hour.”

Dale Roth said, “Someone coming in needing training will probably start at $10 per hour. There’s no residential around us.”

CHESANING ELITE PROVISION

Attorney Neal Vora addressed the vil­lage council on behalf of applicants Scott Rais and Laura Ratliff, who want to open Chesaning Elite Provision at 101 N. Front St.; which is the former Dollar Daze build­ing. Vora said, “We plan to exceed the requirements of the MMFLA (Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act).”

He said the facility would be monitored 24/7, and they want to hire retired military or police.

Vora said, “Saginaw has 4,049 patients, and the surrounding area, approximately 29,000 patients. We’re 1,000 feet from every school and church, the closest is Zion.”

Rais said at the planning commission meeting, parking was one of the biggest issues.

Vora said, “We have ample parking; four spots up front, two on the street.”

Rais said, “To offset police, we will have security onsite. We have every square inch of the property on camera. A lot of people are worried about medicine getting into the hands of children. The state regulates us from seed to sale. Medical marijuana cards are scanned so excess cannot be obtained.” Rais continued by saying, “We reached out to churches, sat down with them and lis­tened to their concerns. I told them, if they have any issues, we’d work with them.”

Rais explained they won’t use the entire building for the dispensary. Plans for the remainder include other businesses, possi­bly a coffee shop.

“If we’re here, we’ll bring in a lot of business. Why Chesaning? I like it here,” Rais said.

Vora said the group intends to employ seven people.

Pastor Timothy Woycik stated Rais implied that the church was okay with the business. That would be incorrect.

CHESANING RELIEF CENTER LLC

Attorney Michael Stieve addressed the village council representing Randy Jarbo and Ronnie Kasian, who propose to open the Chesaning Relief Center LLC at 107 W. Broad St., former location of the Sweet Shop.

Stieve said, “We are dedicated to provide holistic, safe medicine.” He said, serving in Chesaning, the company would not have any signage on front or back.

Stive said their filtration system is the same type used in casinos to eliminate odors.

“We are here for the patients, but we understand that the community as a whole might not be on board,” Stieve said. “We have an extensive patient security system. If a patient fails to have proper identification, or license, [that person] will not be allowed into the facility.”

He talked about having a highly secured facility with a 360-degree view inside and out. “We have a very in-depth access system. Inventory control is very secure,” Stieve said.

“The idea is to minimize the exposure to citizens, who are not yet comfortable with the system. We have a system that basically tracks everything,” Stieve said.

Stieve said, “It will blend in with the business community, operating as discreetly as possible. There’s no reason to have more than 1,300 square feet. We’re not a medi­cal Walmart. This plan has been designed specifically for Chesaning. Our goal is to assimilate and integrate into the communi­ty. Our goal is to operate discreetly.”

“Our charity plan is to benefit city res­idents,” Stieve said. He talked about a charitable effort to revive the Chesaning amphitheater.

After listening to all five dispensary application presentations, Sedlar called for board recommendations.

The council agreed to table discussion until the Oct. 17 meeting.

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