Detroit Lions great Calvin Johnson behind mega marijuana grow facility in Bay County

Former Detroit Lions great Calvin Johnson wants to open a medical marijuana grow operation in Bay County's Kawkawlin Township.
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BAY COUNTY (WJRT) (5/16/2019) - Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is going from from playing on grass to growing it.

He's announced plans to open a mega medical marijuana facility in Bay County, where Kawkawlin Township leaders seem to be receptive to the idea.

The township has more than a dozen applications for marijuana facilities, including the one from Johnson. Zoning for his proposed marijuana grow facility has been approved for a vacant building on South Huron Road.

The application was submitted by Primative, which is co-owned by Johnson and former Lion Rob Simms. The company is waiting for state approval before it can begin grow operations in Bay County.

The proposed facility is located just down the road from Kawkawlin Township's only medical marijuana provisioning location, Uncle Bud's.

"Business is good," said Jason DeFrain, the manager Uncle Bud's. "It's an interesting market, but its steady -- very steady. There are a lot of medical patients out this way."

He's heard that Johnson and his company are looking to start up a grow operation just south of this business.

"I think it's a huge positive thing for this community -- really for all of Bay County -- being Calvin Johnson," DeFrain said. "I mean, he has been a hero for people in Michigan for years."

Johnson, who retired from the NFL in 2016, said he used cannabis to help his ankles feel better when he competed on "Dancing With the Stars." DeFrain said having such a high-profile personality get into the medical marijuana business will help the industry.

"For him to step into a market that has had stigmas in the past, really put it out there that he is willing to be public, he's all for medical marijuana, and wants to do it here," Johnson said. "I would love to be his neighbor."

It's not clear when the state will make a decision on Primative's grow operation license.