Michigan’s Largest Cannabis Retail Cities Reflect History, Culture and Strategy

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Unsurprisingly, college towns have high cannabis retail densities, said Michelle Donovan, senior counsel for Detroit-based Clark Hill PLC, which specializes in licensing, regulations and other cannabis-related issues.

She pointed the finger at Ann Arbor as well as Kalamazoo and Adrian – not only the headquarters of Adrian College, but also near the border with Ohio, which only approved medical cannabis.

From the start, some small towns saw cannabis as an opportunity to create much needed new economic activity, said Travis Copenhagen, a cannabis lawyer based in Ann Arbor and Vicente Sederberg LLP.

Copenhagen mentioned Bay City, whose rules allow 50 retailers in the municipality with a population of 33,000. Lansing, with a population of over 117,000, will host up to 28. Little Vassar with less than 3,000 residents has four active licensees and authorizes one recreational retailer per medical license holder.

While Michigan’s cannabis industry is undoubtedly booming, Donovan said there is still a glaring lack of availability relative to demand.

“You’re good if you’re in a college town, that’s for sure. That doesn’t make it accessible to, you know, someone who might live in northern Macomb County… where are they going to go? Donovan said.

Delivery can fill some of those gaps – the Lapeer County dispensary, Pure Lapeer, for example, delivers 60 miles from its store and which includes much of Macomb County.


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