Owners of a marijuana company on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan say they feel they have been unfairly harassed by city officials in a dispute over a roadside sign over the nature of their business.
Fire Extinguisher Houghton dispensary has rented all the landmarks of S&W Real Estate in early November to advertise its store to drivers on a nearby highway. But as soon as the Fire Station announcement was made, Houghton City sent a letter protesting the “multiple violations” of the site control law, including the legal length and central shape. The city also said the site was located on the city site, and said it could not find any evidence that Fire Station had the right to put up its sign there.
Fire Station owner Logan Stauber says he does not find it strange that the sign raises red flags. The building, located on Sharon Avenue, has been in operation for more than 30 years, and would have been in breach of Fire Station regulations before renting the property.
“What I felt for me was that there were people who were not happy with the content of the sign,” Stauber said. Metro Times. “You know, our colors are red and yellow, but to me, it’s no different from any fast food brand. It looked like we were probably a cannabis company.”
The letter also warned that the breach could result in the Fire Station’s cannabis license being revoked.
“The city of Houghton threatened our reputation, even though it was our understanding that S&W was right there, and they were allowed to advertise on the sign,” says Stauber. But they threatened our license, even though they did not own the sign. We understand that the city has been collecting property taxes on this board for many years. ”
Houghton City Manager Eric Waara insists the problem is not with the billboard, but with a breach of distribution rules, especially its size.
“Whether this was a grandmother’s shop, a pet store, or in this case, it was a cannabis dealer, there are a lot of crimes,” he says. Metro Times. “Anyone who posted such a large number of posters would have received the same letter.”
He added: “I do not consider them to be some kind of business. It is a true sign. ”
Waara admits that the city received complaints from residents of the sign.
“Marijuana is a new thing, you know, to the general public,” says Waara, but adds that some people who have complained about the brand do not seem to know they are advertising a cannabis company.
Mr Waara said the dispute was complicated by the lack of stanchion records, which previously had small billboards on the new street. Apparently he has been a grandfather for many years.
“It’s one of those moody times where you break into endless soliloquy with yourself,” she says. “And that’s the kind of rabbit hole we are in right now.”
Tony Ruiz, a judge at Fire Station, says he is investigating the identity of the brand, including records and property records. In the meantime, the Fire Station has agreed to remove the sign.
“We are trying to work with the city, and the city is working with us to address these issues,” says Ruiz.
Stauber says he believes that as a cannabis company, Fire Station is more closely monitored by government officials than any other business.
“When it comes to full-time jobs, such as putting up a sign or cleaning up a place, because we are marijuana, we are at a high level and a lot of light,” he says.
Stauber says the company has been ostracized by neighbors who do not approve of its business since The Fire Station opened its first location in 2019 in Negaunee, when it became the first licensed facility on the Upper Peninsula. The company now has locations across UP, including Marquette, Hannahville, and Sault Ste. Marie.
“When we first opened the door, there was a gentleman who would walk up to our store every morning and pick us up on his bicycle, and you know, ‘You can find a real job,’” he says. “But we have come a long way since then. We are doing everything we can to change people’s minds. And to the people it is [cannabis] it helps, as well as the customers who really need our products and the products we sell in our stores, we have good reviews and we have a good team. ”
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