ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WWJ) – School officials in Oakland County are pushing back on plans to open a marijuana dispensary across the street from a school in Royal Oak.
The Royal Oak City Commission on Tuesday is set to hold a public hearing on the plan by Gatsby Cannabis Company to open a facility for retail, processing and growing operations across from the Oakland Schools Southeast Technical Campus.
The school, which houses nearly 800 students from several local district high schools in the southeastern part of Oakland County, provides training in areas such as culinary arts, building trades, automotive technology and other vocations.
It’s located at 5055 Delemere Avenue, and the proposed Gatsby facility would be at 5130 Meijer Drive, directly across the street.
Oakland Schools are calling for action against the plan. Superintendent Dr. Mike Yocum tells WWJ he thinks it would be “inappropriate” to put that business within 1,000 feet of the school.
Royal Oak’s zoning does not allow for marijuana businesses within 1,000 feet of K-12 schools, but that buffer reportedly would not apply for the technical school.
Recreational marijuana was legalized by Michigan voters in 2018 and the city established ordinances in the summer of 2020. Gatsby Cannabis Company would be the first establishment in Royal Oak.
Yocum says while recreational pot may be legal in Michigan, students should not be exposed to it.
“It can impact memory and learning ability, coordination and problem solving,” he told WWJ. “So we’re appalled, given what we know from the research and when we can avoid putting a facility like this that close to a school.”
Tuesday’s public meeting is set for 7 p.m.