BENTON HARBOR — Benton Harbor city commissioners gave their official approval Wednesday to one of the three medical marijuana licenses requested by NoBo Michigan.

The other two applications are expected to be considered during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 before the Benton Harbor Planning Commission.

The initial special use permits and site plans for the three licenses were approved in July, with the company breaking ground July 19 at 900 Alreco Road, site of the now-closed Harbor Light Metals, a former aluminum smelting plant.

But it wasn’t a slam dunk.

Commissioners debated for more than an hour at a special meeting about the application for a Class C growers license. The final vote was 6-3, with Commissioners Duane Seats, Juanita Henry and Ruthie Haralson voting against it.

Seats said he is concerned about the background of a couple of the people affiliated with the company. Henry wanted the company to put in writing that they would give preferential treatment to hiring Benton Harbor residents. 

Bill Stohler, director of NoBo Michigan, said after the meeting that his company will continue to “accommodate any and all requests until the city is satisfied.”

The state has prequalified NoBo Michigan for four medical marijuana licenses – two for Class C growers, one for a processing center and one for a provisioning center. The provisioning center would be located at a different site. The company can grow up to 1,500 marijuana plants for each Class C growers license it receives.

Stohler said they plan to have the Benton Harbor operation up and running by April, with the first crop ready to be harvested next summer.

He said NoBo Michigan plans to open medical marijuana facilities throughout Michigan, including in Battle Creek and Muskegon Township. 

He said the Benton Harbor site is owned by NoBo Inc. in Colorado, with NoBo Michigan leasing the property.

Stohler said NoBo Inc. is building a state-of-the-art hybrid greenhouse and training center in Denver, which NoBo Michigan plans to replicate on land they bought in Benton Township.

More information can be found at Noboinc.com.

Stohler said his company plans to hire up to 65 people.

Gwen Swanigan, founder of Higher Staffing and Recruiting Services, said resumes can be sent to HigherStaffing@Outlook.com. Anyone with questions can call her at 588-3190. 

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege