Medical marijuana provisioning center opens in Lapeer with plans for recreational market

Published: Nov. 22, 2019 at 5:54 PM EST
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(11/22/19) - A new medical marijuana facility held its grand opening on Friday in Lapeer, but the company is also getting ready to join a much larger market place with recreational sales.

About a year and a half in the making, ReLEAF Center on Genesee Street is finally open.

"We provide all the medical marijuana products-- everything from dried flower to gummies and waxes and vapor cartridges," said Master Grower Mike Lumetta.

It was a busy grand opening event Friday. Lumetta calls the business model "farm to table." Right now, they sell products from different growers, but soon will supply all of its own products.

"We're growing all of our own cannabis at our Niles facility that got up and running a few weeks back, so in a few months everything you see here will be our own brand and our own products," Lumetta said.

The company will expand into the recreational market after applying for adult use licenses in Chesaning and Niles, but they can't apply for a recreational license in Lapeer until the city approves it.

"A lot of phone calls and messages on Facebook and our social media pages, 'Are you going rec? We heard December 1st you guys can go rec,'" said Manager George Pittenturf.

He said there's a lot of attention on the recreational market. Rick Thompson is a board member of marijuana advocacy group Michigan NORML.

"Dec. 1st is when the licenses will begin to operate, but that's a Sunday and no businesses are allowed to be open on Sunday. So Dec. 2nd we'll launch the adult use market here in Michigan," Thompson said. "There should be about 15 to 20 businesses that are in the initial phase of that. More will be added as time goes on."

According to the latest data from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, some 1,400 communities have opted out of the recreational marijuana market.

The state says there have been 83 prequalification applications received and 57 establishment applications received. Right now, five licenses have been approved, with one of those being a marijuana retailer.

"Our other two facilities -- the one in Chesaning and then Niles -- is geared up to get the recreational license in the next few months. In Lapeer they're taking a slower approach. They want to see how it's rolled out in other communities," Lumetta said.

"That's the position many places have taken in the state of Michigan. There's only about 125 places that have said yes to cannabis businesses at this particular time," Thompson said.

Local government in Lapeer voted to allow six medical marijuana provisioning centers.

ReLEAF Center is the second one to open, according to the city manager. Another one is close to opening, and three more will follow.