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Grassroots outlines plans for Dickinson dispensary

A medical marijuana dispensary is one step closer to becoming a reality in Dickinson. Grassroots Cannabis appeared before the city planning and zoning commission Wednesday in pursuit of a special use permit. The company, based in Deerfield, Ill.,...

A medical marijuana dispensary is one step closer to becoming a reality in Dickinson.

Grassroots Cannabis appeared before the city planning and zoning commission Wednesday in pursuit of a special use permit.

The company, based in Deerfield, Ill., was founded in 2014 and has 53 dispensaries and seven cultivation and processing facilities across 11 states, said Monte Spiers, Grassroots real estate manager.

The North Dakota Department of Health has awarded Grassroots the licenses for all eight state dispensaries and the cultivation center in Fargo.

The Dickinson dispensary site will be at 320 24th St.E., near Walmart. The site, currently a vacant lot, will be roughly 3,400 square feet.

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The facility will have a modern retail aesthetic and boast a secured transport garage.

Deliveries will be randomized for security.

"That will make it more difficult for somebody to try and time out something bad happening," Spiers said.

Safety is a priority for the company.

"These facilities are a lot like banks," Spiers said. "We have duress alarms, bulletproof glass where needed and other safety measures."

Grassroots plans on hiring 10 to 15 people, and could expand to as many as 25 people.

The dispensary will operate Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Commissioner Scott Karsky asked if the company planned to offer recreational use marijuana at the site.

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Spiers emphasized that medical marijuana is not the same as recreational use marijuana, but the facility will have the potential to expand if recreational marijuana is approved by North Dakota voters.

Spiers added that Grassroots does not currently operate any recreational use marijuana sites, though its Illinois dispensaries will begin offering it in January 2020.

"That will be a new venture for us," he said.

City Planner Walter Hadley noted that, with the licensing process, it has taken two years for a medical marijuana dispensary to reach the commission.

"This approval doesn't allow recreational use," he said. "Just because we allow medical, there doesn't necessarily mean we'll allow recreational."

Gene Kruger, Bierschbach Equipment & Supply owner, expressed concerns that the dispensary would increase traffic along 24th Street, where his business is located.

"With these businesses typically is an increase in crime," he said. "I'd hate to see my facility get victimized in that way."

No other concerns were voiced at the public hearing.

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The commission unanimously approved the application.

"I don't think we have a choice," Commissioner Shirley Dukart said. "The legislature has made the decision."

With the application approved by planning and zoning, it will now go to the city commission for action at their July 2 meeting.

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