Planting Seeds for Greener Pastures

Cannabis dispensaries are helping residents cope during the pandemic while providing a much-needed revenue source for cash-strapped coffers

Posted In: Culture, , News, ,   From Issue 908   By: Jason Dean

26th January, 2021     0

The patches of green that started to pop up on the north side of Wilder Road in the past couple years are starting to spread like wildfire. And it’s no surprise, really, when you consider that virtually every other business has been struggling during these pandemic times.

The silver lining to this all-encompassing cloud of malaise is actually a much more pungent and intoxicating cloud. 

Through the third quarter of 2020, the State of Michigan collected more than $300 million in excise taxes related to marijuana sales, according to Bangor Township Supervisor Glenn Rowley.

Once the fourth quarter numbers are added in, Bangor Township will share those monies with other Michigan municipalities that have welcomed cannabis businesses into their respective jurisdictions. 

“I’m very pleased the state has embraced this,” says Rowley, “and I’ll be even more pleased when the State sends us a check and we can be able to use that money for some good purposes.” 

Funds are distributed based on the number of dispensaries operating within a jurisdiction, which may explain why both Bangor Township and Bay City set a rather lofty cap of 25 dispensaries allowed to obtain a license to do business.

Says Rowley: “We have the benefit of being able to sit down with our applicants and we try to weed out [...] bad characters who want to come into town.”

PUFF Owner Justin Elias was an instant fan of how Rowley Bangor Township approached the integration of cannabis businesses after laws changed in 2018. “Glenn knows what he’s doing,” says Elias. “Sometimes these small townships and small cities have some of the best leadership that’s guiding them,” he adds. “Supervisor Glenn is on it. When things happen in the state of Michigan, they’re there at the next board meeting ready to amend things to follow state law, right away. Not like other cities that are waiting a year, putting things on hold for 6 months, 18 months, putting moratoriums in place… I look at [the latter] as cities not wanting to take the initiative of following the state law and the state mandate, which is Medical Marijuana AND recreational marijuana in the state of Michigan.” 

The City of Bay City finally started to catch a whiff of the dank aroma wafting from the Bangor side of Wilder Road. As of the end of 2020, Bay City had issued five operating licenses to marijuana businesses: three for dispensaries operating on the south side of Wilder Road (Rair, Skymint, and Shango) and one each to grow (Golden Harvests, LLC) and transport (MSO Transport) cannabis. An additional seven businesses had been issued provisional certificates (five for retail, one each for grower and processor). In January Canna Bay became the first Bay City dispensary not located on Wilder Road to open for business. 

Bay City, which has been lagging behind Bangor Township in approving applicants seeking to operate in its jurisdiction, started paying closer attention to the successful model of its neighbor. Planning and Zoning Manager Terry Moultane discussed how the City has buttoned up its approval process after a period during which 16 of 20 of certificates to operate had expired before any businesses were approved to open. There were a couple locations in particular that faced opposition based on neighboring businesses. In one case, the proposed business’ proximity to the YWCA sealed its fate due to zoning restrictions.

Back at PUFF, Elias disagrees with those who say the legal cannabis industry invites shady characters to town. To the contrary. “It washes away all the people who are doing bad because they realize, hey the guys with the licenses came to town.”

The benefits far outweigh the negatives. “At the end of the day, they’re getting a beautiful business that’s legal to walk in and actually get educated on the product. Buy it after you’ve gotten educated, after you’ve gotten the nutrition facts, after you know what it’s going to do to you and how it’s going to affect you and if you have an illness and how it’s going to target that illness. You get that in these kinds of shops, with education and state licenses selling you the items.” 

Winter 2021 Regional Cannabis Dispensary Guide

Bay Area Meds • 2245 S Huron Rd, Bay City • (989) 778-1776 • Med • Accepts Debit, VISA, MC, Discover; no ATM onsite. Opened Nov. 2019. Rewards program for all patients; 1st timers receive some goodies. Regular deals (BOGO, quantity specials).

Canna Bay • 1321 N. Sherman Ave, Bay City • 989-402-9011 • Med; Rec provisionally approved • Six Colo. locations, one Mich. location. Opened Jan. 2021.

Dank on Arrival • 3650 Patterson Rd, Bay City • (989) 778-1461 • Med / Rec • Cash only; ATM onsite

Dispo • 3843 N Euclid Ave, Bay City • (989) 671-9333 • Med / Rec • Cash only; ATM onsite.    Bay City location opened Jan. 2020. Rewards program and 1st-timer specials for all clients.

Elite Wellness • 3389 S. Huron Rd, #3, Bay City • (989) 439-1711

Essence Provisioning Center • 759 E Pinconning Rd, Pinconning • (989) 879-4000 • Med / Rec. Cash only; ATM onsite. Local owner, one location, opened Mar. 2020. Rewards program and 1st-timer specials for all clients.

Fire Creek • 3895 N Euclid Ave, Ste C, Bay City • (989) 439-1311. Med / Rec.   Local owner, opened Nov. 2020.  Cash only; ATM onsite. 

Green Pharm • 200 S Euclid Ave, Bay City • (989) 316-2833 • Med / Rec.  Cash only; ATM onsite.   Mich. owner; 4 locations (Bay City, Detroit, Kalkaska, Traverse City). 1st timers receive penny pre-roll with purchase; rewards program for med patients. 

Hashish Boyz • Grand Opening Feb. 1, 2021 • 305 N Euclid Ave, Bay City • 989-439-1972.  Med / Rec.   ATM onsite.   Curbside & Delivery

High Level Health Marijuana Dispensary • 327 S Main St, Vassar • (989) 882-9101. Med / Rec.  Cash only; ATM onsite.   Company based in Colo.; operates three shops in Mich. (Vassar, Omer, East Tawas); Vassar location opened November 2019. Specials for 1st-time med patients; rewards program for all clients.

JAS • 4373 Wilder Rd #2207 • (989) 778-2727 • Med only

Nature’s Holiday • 3620 S Huron Rd, Bay City • (989) 402-1519. Med / Rec. Accepts cash; no ATM. Uses Paytender, which links to a bank account for no-fee transactions.   Local owner; only location. Discount for 1st timers and veterans; rewards program for all clients.

Nature’s Medicines Dispensary • 3480 E North Union Rd, Bay City • (989) 301-9718.  Med / Rec.  Cash only; ATM onsite.  Based in Ariz., operates ships in Mich., Ariz., and four other states).   1st timers receive a discount of 10% (rec) or 15% (med); rewards program for all clients. Wear your Nature’s Medicines T-shirt into the shop on Tuesdays and receive 10% off your order.

Oz • 3967 N Euclid Ave, Bay City • (989) 671-9999 • Med/ Rec.   Cash only; ATM onsite.  Based in MI, one location. 1st timer discount for all clients.

Puff Cannabis Company • 1680 Marquette Ave, Bay City • (989) 778-1144.   Med / RecCash only; ATM onsite.   Local owner, two locations (Bay City, Traverse City). Discounts for 1st timers and veterans; rewards program for all clients. Daily specials. Bay City location opened for medical July 2019 and recreational Jan. 2020.

ReLeaf Center • 144 W Broad St, Chesaning • (989) 323-2071.  Med / Rec.  Cash only; ATM onsite.   Company based in Niles, MI; operates shops in Niles, Lapeer, and Chesaning. Saginaw location opening in 2021. Chesaning location opened summer 2018. Specials for 1st timers, rewards program for all clients, random specials.

Remedii • 3557 Wilder Rd, Bay City • (989) 778-1348

Skymint • 4330 Wilder Rd, Bay City • (989) 272-1745.   Med / Rec.  Curbside service with reduced in-store capacity; ATM onsite.  Currently operates 11 locations in MI, with more scheduled to open in the coming months. Bay City was the first location to open, in July 2019. Discounts for veterans (15%), students (10%), and med patients (25%). Email signup earns 10% discount; rewards program for all clients.

The Station • 302 E Huron Ave, Vassar • (989) 882-9298.  Med / Rec.  Cash only; ATM onsite.  Penny prerolls for 1st-time med patients.

Uncle Bud’s Provisioning Center • 11 S Huron Rd, Linwood • (989) 564-7040.  Med only.  Cash only; ATM onsite.  Local owner, one location with two other Bay City locations opening soon; 1st-timers receive a nickel preroll with purchase, rewards program for all clients. 

RAIR • 3772 Wilder Rd, Bay City (989) 402-1484 • Med / Rec • Opened Nov. 2020.

Shango • 3976 Wilder Rd, Bay City (989) 778-1114 • Med / Rec • Opened Dec. 2020  Shops in Bay City, Lapeer, Calif., Nev., Ore. Free pre-roll for 1st-time customers.Seniors and military veterans receive 10% off.


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