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Pot Shop Requests Permission To Grow Weed In Closed JC Penney Store

Can a cannabis business get permission to grow weed in a closed JC Penney store? It’s not just the mall’s board they need to convince.

Chloé Harper Gold

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Pot Shop Requests Permission To Grow Weed In Closed JC Penney Store

Who wouldn’t want to grow weed in a closed JC Penney store? After all, there would be plenty of space, plenty of ventilation and it already has an electrical system. In fact, it seems like a closed department store would be an ideal location to grow some cannabis. And that’s exactly what one ganjapreneur is trying to do.

The Copper Country Mall

The Portage Caregiver Center is located in Houghton, Michigan. It’s one of the state’s many medical marijuana dispensaries. But unlike most of Michigan’s MMJ sources, you can find the Portage Caregiver Center in a mall—the Copper Country Mall to be precise.

Although once a thriving and diverse center of commerce, the Copper Country Mall has been seeing a decline in recent years. Most notably, the JC Penney department store, which has closed hundreds of its locations since 2014, shut down its operations at the Copper Country Mall location, leaving a sizeable vacancy in its wake. As of now, the mall’s other tenants include a community college, a veterans’ center, a location for the Department of Health and Human Resources and a movie theater.

Over the summer, Portage Caregiver Center’s registered agent, Tyler Ross, attended a board meeting for the Copper Country Mall. In the meeting, he brought up the possibility of converting the now-empty JC Penney store into a space in which to grow cannabis.

Marijuana In A Mall?

Pot Shop Requests Permission To Grow Weed In Closed JC Penney Store

Considering that a medical marijuana dispensary is already housed within the Copper Country Mall, the proposal for a cannabis grow operation is not totally out of the blue. But will anything come of the proposal?

In Pennsylvania, the owner of the King of Prussia Mall and the Philadelphia Mills Mall (formerly Franklin Mills Mall) is currently seeking legal action to prevent a dispensary from opening nearby. While the board of the Copper Country Mall clearly doesn’t have an issue with a dispensary, they might see a grow operation a bit differently. But the potential issues might not actually have anything to do with any sort of moral objection to cannabis.

According to Portage Township supervisor, Bruce Peterson, the “pivotal issue is the number of people served by this facility.”

It’s an interesting problem to bring up. And frankly, it’s refreshing, since the issue with a potential cannabis business isn’t due to a perceived ethical dilemma. The Copper Country Mall’s board of trustees seem to respect the potential grow operation as a legitimate business. And they’re treating it as such.

Final Hit: Pot Shop Requests Permission To Grow Weed In Closed JC Penney Store

Because of the legislation in Michigan regarding cannabis, the decision to grant or deny permission for the grow operation isn’t solely in the hands of the mall’s board of trustees. The pot shop must not only request permission to grow weed in the closed JC Penney store from the mall but also from the town itself. The local community needs to weigh in and decide if they want a new cannabis business in their township. According to sources, the township board will discuss the matter on December 11.

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