JUST SAY NO? Despite legal framework, West Michigan economic developers avoid marijuana business

In politically conservative Calhoun County, Scott Fleming embraces the economic potential of legal marijuana businesses.

As the CEO of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, Fleming remains a bit of an outlier. He speaks positively of the economic boost coming to town with a medical marijuana growing facility and a processing center. Within the next five years, the two companies are expected to create about 450 jobs combined, as well as invest millions of dollars in the community. A third company is expected soon that will focus on making edible marijuana. Fleming said he also wants to attract a compliance testing laboratory to Marshall.

While Marshall, which has a population of 7,046 people, doesn’t allow for retail provisioning centers, Fleming hopes the city becomes a “distribution hub” for medical marijuana in the coming years.

“It really is kind of a boon for the community. They’re very good partners and want to make a

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