New Buffalo Township Reviews 47 Cannabis Dispensary Applications, Approves Four

June 5th, 2024 Business & Industry
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On Tuesday night, the New Buffalo Township Planning Commission granted preliminary approval to four cannabis dispensary applications, marking the first step in a multi-stage approval process for these businesses.

This decision follows a one-year moratorium on new cannabis applications, which concluded with a surge of submissions just before Monday's deadline. Michelle Hannon, New Buffalo Township Clerk, emphasized that these approvals are preliminary and that the dispensaries must undergo additional scrutiny from various governmental entities before returning to the township board for final approval.

The commission's recommendation to approve the four dispensaries came after a public hearing and review. However, the journey for these businesses is far from complete. "They have to go through approval with various different government entities, and then they'll come back to the township board for final approval once those things are complete," Hannon explained.

In total, 47 applications were submitted and will be reviewed by the planning commission. The influx of applications has sparked concern among some community members. Cathy Ward, a local resident, voiced her worries about the township's priorities. "I wish they would put more money into the children's future in the schools and the childcare available in the area and look into providing some places like a CVS or somewhere to shop," she said.

Despite these concerns, officials note that not all 47 applications are guaranteed to move forward. The township stands to gain approximately $59,000 in annual tax revenue for each dispensary that successfully opens.

Hannon pointed out the uncertainty in the process, stating, "Well, it depends. Just because they have preliminary approval does not mean they have final approval. I mean, of those 47 applications, not even all have gone through this step. Things fall apart; you never know if they all will make it through. It's really hard to estimate at this point."

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