June 19 • 12:57 PM

Grow operation in future?

Attica Twp. officials mull R.Y.O. proposal to grow medical marijuana

The company already sells tobacco products and stamps cigarettes for the state.

March 15, 2017
ATTICA TWP. — Township officials have opted to wait three months before resuming discussions about the state's new medical marijuana law and local implications. Between now and May, elected officials plan to educate themselves on the latest developments.

Supervisor Al Ochadleus said board members will attend upcoming seminars at the Michigan Township Association's annual meeting in April where presenters will talk about the 2016 revisions made to the state's Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Of particular interest is a new provision that allows growers, processors, testing labs, transporters and provisioning centers to become licensed and regulated through the state.

At issue is a proposal before the planning commission. Ochadleus said R.Y.O. Distribution owner Andy Shango had submitted a proposal to the commission that would have them growing medical marijuana on 24,000 square feet of existing space at the Imlay City Road facility in addition to leasing space to other growers in new buildings on site.

Shango, owner/president of R.Y.O said the commercial production proposal represents phase one of his proposal.

"We want to see how things progress first before we move on to the next step," Shango said of the potential leasing proposal.

His plan is to apply for two different licenses from the state—one each for growing and processing. Growing plants would be done on the 24,000 square feet with the processing/extraction area happening on 11,000 square feet of existing space.

Shango said he can't submit those applications to the state until local ordinances have been changed to allow for such use.

At the township board's February meeting, Ochadleus had suggested they start the process to draft an ordinance that would allow for only growers and processors in Attica Township. He likened the process to that of obtaining a liquor license from the state.

Shango has estimated that the marijuana grow and processing operation could result in 50 new jobs.

"There would be a variety of jobs, from laborers to chemists, and have a varied pay scale," he said.

R.Y.O. Distributing sells cigars, tobacco and supplies and vaping products, among other items. Shango said he believes his experience in the industry, in particular his familiarity with government rules, makes his move into medial marijuana production a natural one.

"I've been in the business for 23 years, have my own tobacco factory in North Carolina and have experience in contracting with farmers," Shango said.

Additionally, his facility in Attica already has many of the necessary security measures in place. Those safeguards are required by the state for certification which allows R.Y.O. to be a cigarette stamping agent through the Department of Treasury.

Packaged cigarettes must be stamped to indicate the tax imposed by the Tobacco Products Tax Act has been paid.

Shango re-located his business from downtown Lapeer to the former Crazy Mountain facility on old M-21 six years ago.

"We feel that this proposal would be really great for where we're at and in creating new jobs," Shango noted.

"It would also be a positive for the township's tax base."

The new state law also calls for a portion of the commercial crop's value to be paid to the state, which would in turn distribute some of those monies to the county and township.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.
  1. reply print email
    Marijuana odor
    March 17, 2017 | 07:13 PM

    I live in Rich Township, 1/4 mile from a medical marijuana farm in Tuscola County. The smell is HORRIBLE in the fall time, when it ripens. It smells similar to skunk, only far worse. We cannot even open our doors and windows when the wind is blowing from the west. Please take in consideration what the neighbors will have to put up with.

    brenda lopez
  2. reply print email
    March 17, 2017 | 07:59 PM

    This sounds like he is trying to turn this medical marijuana into a factory market. And that's not what it's about. If he's has his hands In a tobacco market he shouldn't be allowed to try to play this as a "creating jobs" deal. It just sounds like he's in it for all the wrong reasons, medical marijuana is supposed to be a helpful alternative to pharmaceutical, heavy drug use alternative, cancer treatment alternative. It's supposed to be grown and purposes with good intentions. Sure turn it into a grow opportunity, job opportunities, use the income as Colorado has and this town will go places. Lower taxes on the people and tax the medical marijuana and watch profits come in. There's more grounds to learn on this matter. More economical opportunities to lower city taxes and watch the people be willing to buy medical marijuana and see the financial increase storm in. Put the money towards roads, schools, homeless, rebuild Lapeer on the revenue of mmj.

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