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Monday, March 18,2013

Business speaks

Neogen CEO not too keen on “noisy dispensaries” or their clientele on Michigan Avenue

by Andy Balaskovitz
Wednesday, June 22 — The CEO of a global corporation headquartered in Lansing said today the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Lansing is “very embarrassing” when he welcomes international clients into town.

“It is very embarrassing that I’ve got large customers from around the world to see what we have in the way of medical marijuana stores up and down the street,” Jim Herbert, board chairman and CEO of Neogen, said today on “City Pulse on the Air.” (The show aired at 7 p.m. today and will be available as a podcast at www.lansingcitypulse.com on Thursday.)

Herbert is leading a group of local businesses opposing proposed medical marijuana dispensary regulations that the Lansing City Council is scheduled to vote on Monday.

Herbert said the City Council should extend its moratorium on new businesses, which is scheduled to expire July 1, and cap the number of businesses that can operate in the city. He suggested the city wait to regulate these businesses until the state Legislature offers more guidance on how to do so.

Herbert said he has a problem with “loud marijuana stores” on Michigan Avenue that he can hear at night “shouting vulgarities.” Herbert lives a block off Michigan on Lansing’s east side, within three blocks of two dispensaries on Michigan Avenue.

He said he has “been here” for 28 years — Neogen was founded in 1982 — “in the days we had adult book stores up and down Michigan Avenue.”

And now for dispensaries: “We line Michigan Avenue with it. I’m not saying anything about the character of the people in this for profit. But I do see what their clientele looks like.”

Herbert said he is “certainly not opposed to medical marijuana,” even though he didn’t vote for Proposition 1 in 2008 that allowed for the use of medical marijuana. The initiative passed 63 percent to 37 percent.

When asked why this opposition against the ordinance is surfacing relatively late in the game, Herbert said: “Sometimes the silent majority is a little bit late in waking up.”


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