2020 in Review: Marijuana businesses open in Benzie


1:00 pm CST, Friday, January 1, 2021

BENZONIA — It was a big year for marijuana businesses in Benzie County, with three facilities opening up in Benzonia. These offered medical marijuana and recreational marijuana products as well.

In January, Lume Cannabis Company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at it’s Honor location, which was attended by people from across Benzie and beyond.

Related: Lume Cannabis Company launches Benzie County’s first adult-use marijuana retail location

People were lined up to purchase a variety of products, such as marijuana flower, marijuana-infused edibles, vape cartridges, salves, waxes and other marijuana derivatives, as well as CBD products. There were so many people visiting Lume on opening day that the business had an overflow parking area and brought in customers via a shuttle bus.

Inside the business, Lume employees holding tablets talked with customers about the products on offer and helped guide patrons.

Lume Cannabis Company is a privately held vertically integrated cannabis company.

Lume operates Lit Provisioning Centers in Evart and Lume Kalamazoo and is preparing to open additional stores in Adrian, Petoskey, Negaunee, Walled Lake and Mackinaw City by April 2020.

Lume’s Evart cultivation, which is currently 50,000 square feet, was expected to be expanded to 150,000 square feet by the end of 2020 and 450,000 square feet by the end of 2024.

Great Lakes Natural Remedies got its recreational adult-use marijuana in February of 2020. The business, which had been open to medical marijuana patients since December of 2019, also is a vertically integrated business, and cultivates, processes and provides in-house grown flower.

Related: Great Lakes Natural Remedies to expand into adult-use recreational marijuana

Great Lakes Natural Remedies also sells a variety of marijuana and CBD products such as concentrated oils, including Rick Simpson Oil, a full spectrum cannabis oil used by cancer patients. Great Lakes Natural Remedies also sells edibles, including gummies, baked goods, chocolates and mints.

The Benzonia location is the first to open, but the owners plan to open stores across Michigan. Other locations include Manistee, Muskegon, Warren, Saginaw County and Spaulding Township.

Great Lakes Natural Remedies’ main campus for growing is in Saginaw, but the business plans to have growing facilities throughout the state.

Later in the year, Lake and Leaf opened its doors in August, giving medical and adult-use recreational marijuana users another option to choose from in Benzie County.

Lake and Leaf offered flower as well as both Sativa and Indica marijuana products. Indica strains typically help people relax and sleep, while Sativa strains don’t tend to make people drowsy. The products have varying amounts of THC.

They also sell Rick Simpson Oil.

Related: Lake and Leaf provides marijuana users with options

Lake and Leaf is carrying products made by other Michigan growers, but is hoping to get the licenses to start its own growing and processing operations to also become a vertically integrated company. Lake and Leaf has purchased 26 acres of property next to Xpert fulfillment, and has also purchased 1,700 square feet of space on the south end of the Xpert fulfillment building in Benzonia.

One of the things Lake and Leaf will be working on is creating a “cleaner” vaping experience, extracting THC using carbon dioxide instead of a solvent, and using ceramic vape cartridges instead of metal.

Not everybody was happy about marijuana businesses in the area.

Concerned citizens attempted to put a marijuana business ban up to a vote in Benzonia, but attempts were unsuccessful. Signatures were gathered on a petition to put the item on the ballot, but Benzonia Township officials stated the ballot language on the proposed ballot item were asking the township to do because of current state statute.

Related: Marijuana petition lawsuit continues in Benzie County after judge denies order, holds status meeting

Mary Haan, a Benzie County resident who spearheaded the ballot proposal, later sued the township to get the item put on the ballot Nov. 3, but the Judge David Thompson, of Benzie County’s 85th District Court, denied the request to issue a court order known as a writ of mandamus that would compel officials to take actions (or refrain from acting in certain cases) on matters they are required to perform.

The lawsuit is still ongoing.

However, the group was successful in getting a ban on the March 3 primary election ballot in Crystal Lake Township, which passed with 243 votes for for the ban and 222 votes against.

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