Highland Park welcomes marijuana businesses, residents unsure

City council votes to allow recreational, medical marijuana businesses

Highland Park welcomes marijuana businesses, residents unsure

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – The city of Highland Park has decided to go all in on legal marijuana -- but some people are wondering if the move is too much.

Concerned residents have contacted Local 4, questioning why a city that’s less that three square miles is home to 36 marijuana business licenses.

On Hamilton Avenue -- where most people see blight -- the Highland Park City Council sees an opportunity for prosperity.

The city council recently approved an ordinance that allows Highland park to participate in recreational and medical marijuana businesses. The council specifically approved 36 licenses for marijuana businesses.

Michigan voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018 by an 11-point margin. 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties voted in favor of the proposal. Legal recreational marijuana officially went on sale in Michigan in December of 2019.

City council president Carlton Clyburn says that the 36 marijuana licenses don’t necessarily mean that 36 marijuana businesses will suddenly flood the town.

“Realistically, one facility can have up to six licenses,” Clyburn said. “They could do three recreational licenses and three medical -- so it’s not like (36) new places are popping up.”

Clyburn does say, however, that the city desperately needs development, and the plan is to start by adding marijuana businesses in high-traffic areas most in need of development. Officials hope that once these businesses take off, other businesses will start opening in the area.

“They’re strategically placed to help development and to make the Highland Park economy boom,” Clyburn said.

In addition to the hope that other business will flock to the area, the city is poised now to recoup money from marijuana licenses and tax dollars from marijuana sales. Officials say it may take up to a year for the first of the new businesses to move into the city.


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About the Author:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.