Flint, MI– After weeks of debate, the Flint City Council voted to approve recreational and medical provisioning licenses for a marijuana facility neighboring the potential new location for the Flint Children’s Museum.

While some council members said they weren’t a fan of a cannabis company next to the museum, the majority voted to approve the licenses because the Planning Commission had already approved them last year. 

“This is something that just was in place even before the children’s museum was planning to move to the farmers’ market,” said Councilman Quincy Murphy during the special council meeting on March 3. “And it just put us in a sticky situation with that because I really don’t support having these two next to each other like this, but it is what it is.”

The marijuana facility located at 1101 Robert T Longway Blvd is owned by Sozo, a cannabis company with three other locations in Michigan. After gaining approval from the city on April 13, 2021, the company started renovating and investing money into the location– but the council didn’t know about this until last month.

In the meantime, the Flint Children’s Museum had been seeking the council’s approval to potentially purchase the old farmers’ market building located just across the street, at 420 E. Boulevard Dr.

On Feb. 14, the council gave that approval after hearing from the museum’s Executive Director Kimberly Roddy, who said that while Sozo’s “presence in that proximity to the Children’s Museum definitely raises concerns,” she would still like to have the option to purchase that location.

Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer was the only member of council to vote against approving licenses for Sozo at the meeting on March 3. 

“I’m just voting no on these because I don’t want to mess with the children’s museum. … I’m not going to be responsible for a marijuana (facility) next to the Children’s Museum,” he said. 

Other council members said they were worried about the ramifications for not approving their licenses after the city had already done so.

“As much as I really want the children’s museum to be in the location that we have been debating about for a very long time, I’m going to be voting for this because it was approved by the planning commission, and they’ve already putting their money in there,” said Councilwoman Eva Worthing. “I mean, I could see the situation where this was the city’s fault because we didn’t do this correctly, that we could get sued if this doesn’t go through.”

The council voted 8-1 to approve the adult and medical provisioning licenses for Sozo. 

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...