Oak Creek Two medical marijuana growers from Summit County won the blessing from the Oak Creek Town Board to open a growing operation and commercial kitchen but were denied a dispensary.
Skyler Hartman and Joe McIntyre III requested a land-use change of minor impact that would allow them to open a retail operation, kitchen and growing operation at 240 Arthur St. in a building that used to hold a granite business.
During several hours of discussion Thursday night, Oak Creek Town Board members heard from several audience members in a packed meeting room and eventually scrapped the portion of the application for a retail space, as the town’s Planning Commission also did Wednesday night.
Under the new state law, grow operations must be affiliated with a medical marijuana center — a dispensary. The two men said they work with several dispensaries in the state but are not in the kind of relationship that would allow them to operate the grow operation independently. However, Hartman said it could be as early as today that they have the arrangement worked out.
The two said they plan to move from Summit County to Oak Creek to oversee the operation.
McIntyre and Hartman originally planned to use the space to grow medical marijuana for three dispensaries, including an on-site dispensary. Board members expressed concern that the site would violate the town’s dispensary law because it would be within 1,000 feet of the Oak Creek Ice Rink.
Audience members repeatedly brought up the prospect of taxing the business, increasing permit amounts or encouraging the proposed business to make donations to the community.
“This can be a huge profit for the town if it’s run properly,” resident Renee Johnson said, adding that other cities across the country are making money on medical marijuana businesses. “Make sure you have it all laid out so we can come out ahead and not behind like we tend to.”
Town Board members told the public they couldn’t tax the business except through normal retail taxes from the dispensary. With the growing operation as a wholesale business, the town receives income only from licenses and employment taxes. Hartman said he plans to have 15 full-time employees.
Faced with the possibility of the Town Board tabling the discussion to consider the retail space more closely, Hartman and McIntyre said they had to have the paperwork in to the state soon and that they preferred a decision on the kitchen and growing operation, even if they could not open the dispensary. McIntyre said they have to have 500 pages of paperwork to the state by the end of the month and could not wait for a delay.
Board members Wendy Gustafson, Lawrence Jaconetta and Bernie Gagne voted in favor of allowing the business, and Johrene Meyers-Story and Chuck Wisecup voted against. Member Dawn Smith was not present.
Another expansion of a medical marijuana business was put on hold after Town Board members expressed concerns about the business’s location.
Jacob Wise, owner of the Mary’s dispensary, originally submitted two applications for grow sites. The first was at the same site as the first applicant, 240 Arthur St., and another was for the former Black Mountain Tavern, at the Circle R Building at Nancy Crawford Boulevard and Sharp Street.
Wise first withdrew his application for Arthur Street because the location went to McIntyre and Hartman.
Town Board members expressed concern about the location at the Circle R Building because it houses apartments.
Wise asked the board to table the discussion so he could find another site and return to the board. He said that in order to meet state regulations, he had to have an application active. The board tabled the discussion until September.