Green Stem looking to secure special land use permit for proposed provisioning center

Published 9:22 am Thursday, May 16, 2019

NILES — A Berrien Springs couple hopes to transform a Niles business into a medical marijuana dispensary on S. 11th Street.

During a planning commission meeting Tuesday night at the Fire Station Complex, Denise and George Lynch, owners of Green Stem, shared their vision for the project during a special land use hearing.

Green Stem is proposing turning the site of Sparkle Quik Lube, at 1140 S. 11th St., into a home for their provisioning center. According to Denise, the medical marijuana company is negotiating the purchase of the property with the current landowner. The building also houses Taqueria Don Chepe, located at 1140 B. The Mexican restaurant is three years into its seven years lease to rent the property. George and Denise said they would want Taqueria Don Chepe to remain in the building.

“We are not going to ask them to leave,” Denise said. “We want them to stay. We hope that they want to stay.”

Denise said they would plan to remodel the space of 1140 A and use the west side of the building, which faces away from S. 11th Street, as the front entrance. They would also hope to extend the parking lot on the west side of the building.

The provisioning center would offer an assortment of medical marijuana products, including edibles and oils.

Denise and George’s passion for the products they would sell is palpable, right down to the socks George wears, stitched with marijuana leaves and the couple’s phone cases, which both bear pot leaf emblems.

The couple said their goal is to provide accessible medicine.

“The number of provisioning centers in Michigan has dropped from 500 to approximately 70 facilities,” Denise said. “With over 300,000 patients registered in the state, many of them have nowhere to buy their medicinal products. Green Stem will deliver on high quality cannabis products that provide the medicinal needs of our clients and what they are searching for in today’s market.”

Green Stem has been prequalified by the state for a Class C grow license, processing by CO2 extraction and a provisioning center. Earning prequalification means they have passed the state’s background check but have not received official approval just yet. For their part, city council members have approved the company to operate in the city, contingent upon receiving necessary state approval.

According to Denise, Sparkle Quik Lube will be moving to another location. She added that the business does not keep their oil tanks underground and that there has not been an oil spill at the site. Green Stem has also been working with Department of Environmental Quality for a site assessment.

Denise said they believe S. 11th Street is a prime location for their business. 

“We’ve got a lot of movement on that road, so we could potentially bring in a lot of business to Niles,” Denise said.

Eventually, Denise said Green Stem also has a vision to open a grow center, where 4,500 plants would be grown. While medical use is their main concern, Denise said Green Stem could also be interested in selling recreational.

Green Stem will have a second hearing at 5:30 p.m. June 4. During this meeting, the planning commission is expected to vote on whether the business could be permitted to set up shop at the location.