Michigan: Former Flint Police Academy May Become New Cannabis Grow Op

A vacant building that once housed the Flint police academy may be repurposed as a cannabis grow site.
Michigan: Former Flint Police Academy May Become Cannabis Grow Op

A building that once housed the Flint police academy in Michigan could become a cannabis cultivation facility if a proposed sale now being considered by the city council becomes final. If the transaction goes through, the site would become a marijuana growing operation for Evergrow LLC.

“It’s kind of ironic that the training facility for the police department, that used to go against marijuana, is going to possibly become a marijuana grow shop,” Flint 3rd Ward council member Santino Guerra said, noting that he believed the potential sale would be a “productive use” for the site.

The last Flint police academy class to study at the site graduated in 2010. Volunteers with the city’s Blue Badge Volunteer program were also trained at the facility, according to media reports. The building has been unused for years, sitting idle and covered with graffiti. 

The proposed sale was presented to the council by city staff on Monday. Under the terms of the deal, Evergrow would pay $500,000 for the site, which covers an area of 4.4 acres. Suzanne Wilcox, the director of the Flint Department of Planning and Development, said that after Evergrow approached city officials about purchasing the property, a call for bids for the site was advertised during a seven-day period. Evergrow’s bid far eclipsed the only other offer submitted for the parcel, which totaled only $20,000.

“We believe our land has value and we want to obtain the maximum value for these types of properties,” Wilcox said. “We finalized that purchase agreement (but) it obviously requires City Council approval.”

“This is a fair and valid offer,” Wilcox added.

Company Looking For Quick Sale of The Former Flint Police Academy

Wilcox brought the proposed sale to the city council during its meeting held on April 26 without first submitting the offer to a council committee, which would be the usual course of action. The director said that she brought the proposal directly to members of the council because Evergrow would like to see the deal close within 30 days, adding that the company is interested in seeing necessary construction on the site begin as soon as possible.

“The intent from the beginning was to get the project going as soon as possible,” said Franko Sallaku, the managing partner for Evergrow. “Flint seemed like a good city to establish this type of business in,” adding that the Flint police academy site “has been abandoned for a while.”

Before cannabis cultivation operations could begin at the site, Evergrow would be required to obtain the approval of the Flint Planning Commission and apply for and receive a marijuana business license from the state. The company would also be required to file for and obtain all necessary permits, pay fees, pass required inspections, and receive a certificate of occupancy for the building. City officials said the former police academy site is properly zoned for licensed cannabis operations.

Despite Wilcox’s hope for expediency, the city council decided to send the proposal to a committee for consideration with a vote of 7 to 2. Some council members said that they had questions about selling property owned by the city. The council also wanted more information about the ordinances related to marijuana cultivation operations within city limits. 

Council member Eric Mays of the city’s 1st Ward said that if the delay threatens the completion of the transaction, members of the council could decide to meet in a special session to reconsider the sale. Mays called on his colleagues to act quickly, saying “I don’t want to blow a deal.”

Regulated sales of adult-use cannabis began in Michigan on December 1, 2019. Since that time, the state’s recreational marijuana market has shown dramatic growth, on track to record $1 billion in sales in 2021.

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