'Green rush': Preparing for prescription pot boom

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids has been seeing a big increase in interest about setting up medical marijuana facilities, and that means more manpower has been devoted to the issue.

The City Commission passed a medical marijuana ordinance in July, prompting a flood of questions about the new development rules. City workers say there were about 200 inquiries in the first couple of days alone.

The equivalent of two or three full-time staff members are now dedicated to medical marijuana development, including Grand Rapids Senior Planner Landon Bartley.

"We've heard 'green rush.' There are all kinds of puns" about the anticipated profit, he said.

He spends so much time on the issue that he recently took a trip to Denver to find out how that city has been handling the marijuana boom.

"We want to make sure that if we're going to regulate this industry, let's understand it," he said.

He estimates he takes anywhere from 15 to 50 calls per day on the topic. While he thinks the rush will eventually taper off, he said the day-to-day administrative aspects are going to remain.

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