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Could the Old Post Office in Niles become a ‘pot office’?

NILES, Mich. -

A company has expressed interest in turning the Old Post Office in downtown Niles into a medical marijuana dispensary, if the city council will allow it.

“I know people use it for their medical reasons, but also non-medical reasons,” said Sara Anderson. “So, I don’t think it’d be good to put it out there completely in the open – kind of hide it just a little bit more.”

Anderson has been an embroidery tech at Colorful Stitches in downtown Niles for the last few years.

She lives in the city too.

She said she supports medical marijuana coming into her community; just maybe not in the heart of downtown.

“This is a downtown place,” she said. “We got cars and business roaming through here all the time, and if something were to happen up the street, I don’t think that would give us a good publicity stand of it.”

Up the street – Main Street – sits the Old Post Office building.

Mayor Nick Shelton wrote in a Facebook post Monday night that a company is offering $600,000 to buy the historic building and transform it into a medical marijuana dispensary.

“I really don’t’ mind,” said Heidi Arbri-Green. “The buildings need to be used for something and I don’t really see the harm in it.”

Arbri-Green has been mixing drinks at The Nuggett – also on Main Street in downtown Niles – for nine years.

She said few people in her restaurant are talking about the possibility of pot popping up in Niles, but she supports it.

“I don’t think it’ll bring trouble,” she said. “And it will bring money to the city, I believe, and the city probably could use money.”

Mayor Shelton also wrote on Facebook that a dispensary could only take the post office’s place if the city council votes to allow dispensaries in the downtown district, and then votes to sell the building, which the city owns.

“There is a lot of available space in our city’s industrial park for businesses that relate to the medical marijuana industry to locate,” said Niles City Councilman Bob Durm, in a statement. “The only reason such a facility would want to locate downtown with a store front would be to draw attention to it if the state were to legalize marijuana recreationally. Currently that is not applicable. I think we should allow legitimate, legal facilities in the city, in places that are appropriate.”

But most downtown dwellers said Tuesday they’re open to the idea.

“I’m not really sure how it would affect the economy, but I guess you got to try something once to see if it’s going to work,” said Anderson.

The next step is figuring out where the city wants to allow medical marijuana facilities.

Mayor Shelton wants feedback from residents on his Facebook page.

The city council has already passed a resolution to create an ordinance that will map everything out.

Once it’s written, we’ll be closer to knowing if the Old Post Office could one day become a pot shop.

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