This rendering provides a look at what the future Sozo Health business  might look like at its 404 E. 10 Mile Road location.

This rendering provides a look at what the future Sozo Health business might look like at its 404 E. 10 Mile Road location.

Image provided by the city of Pleasant Ridge

Pleasant Ridge approves marijuana business to operate in Iron Ridge district

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 26, 2021


PLEASANT RIDGE — The Pleasant Ridge City Commission awarded a marijuana license to a business that will establish a retail and provisioning center in the Iron Ridge district.

At its Dec. 14 meeting, the commission approved a license for Sozo Health Inc. to open a business at 404 E. 10 Mile Road in the Iron Ridge development. The license is for both a retailer licensed under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018 and a provisioning center licensed under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008.

The commission previously approved guidelines for the establishment of marijuana businesses, which stated that two retailer/provisioning centers could operate in Pleasant Ridge. This means the body is able to approve one more retailer/provisioning center application in the future, if it so chooses.

The applicant, Sozo, operates two businesses in Cheboygan and Muskegon and a large facility in Warren. City Manager James Breuckman said its applications met, and in most cases exceeded, all of the requirements of the city’s commercial marijuana facilities ordinance. He also stated that police conducted an extensive background check on the operation and identified no concerning information.

“Iron Ridge has always been the natural location that we thought would work well for one of these, because all of the potential off-site impacts you see from this type of use — parking, traffic — are well handled by the size of the Iron Ridge site,” he said. “The fact that there’s a large parking field there, the fact that it’s accessed directly off the service drive and Bermuda, it’s probably the ideal location within Pleasant Ridge for this type of facility.”

The commission concurred, unanimously approving application.

“I thought it was well put together and I appreciated the attention to traffic and to security and to lighting and things like that, that certainly I was interested in making sure that it was well encompassing and well thought out,” Commissioner Katy Schmier said.

When asked by the commission what the business learned in other areas it operated in that it could bring to Pleasant Ridge, Sozo Chief Strategy and Government Affairs Officer Kristi Kelly said they recognized in Cheboygan and Muskegon that there were unique, localized community needs at each location, and so that’s something Sozo pays attention to in its development process.

Kelly said they try to listen to what the community is looking for, citing the application process as an example, as it signals to Sozo what the city is concerned about, whether it’s security, traffic or parking.

“We really feel like in this site there’s an abundance of opportunity to get to know each other better, but there’s also a perfectly situated site,” she said. “It’s got access to all of the major thoroughfares we would want to see in an ideal location; it’s got a fully insulated site without intrusion from other places; we have a full physical barrier by way of the railroad tracks behind us; and then a physical barrier that brings us to the front by virtue of the actual construction of the Iron Ridge development.

“If you’re thinking about security and you’re thinking about safety and you’re thinking about community interests and the impacts of residential homes that are right on the other side of Bermuda, those are the kinds of things we like to pay attention to as well, and we feel that this site ... is a wonderful site from that perspective,” she continued.