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Lume Cannabis closing, are pot shops saturated in Bay City?

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BAY CITY, Mich. (WJRT) - Once known as having the most bars per capita, Bay City is quickly becoming known for the amount of marijuana dispensaries the city houses.

As reported earlier in the month, one popular dispensary, Lume Cannabis Company, has closed its doors in Bay City and is heading to another Michigan location.

Some city commissioners and community members have opposing views as Lume, Michigan's largest cannabis company, looks to set up shop elsewhere.

“I think too many is too much. You have to have a lower cap, so you don't have one on every corner,” said Fernando Torna, an employee of neighboring Beavers Pub in Bay City.

Some said that the street closures in Bay City during the summer may have impacted business.

“This location in the summertime being walking distance only, you can't just pull up,” said Bay City resident Teddy Zywics.

Lume is closing four stores across the state, citing "realignment for growth" as cannabis revenue reaches new highs. A whopping $31 million in taxes from the legalized sales was collected in 2020.

Bay City Commissioner Ed Clements, who doesn't support a cap on licenses, said, "I told critics that say there are too many, just wait and see. After a period, there will be closures and mergers...when dispensaries close, the location they leave is renovated, updated and improved almost turn-key for a new business."

“I do agree with that mantra -- pot for potholes. The more these resources come in, I'd like to see that investment go to our city streets and infrastructure,” said City Commissioner of the 6th Ward and Commission President Christopher Girard.

But others feel differently.

Bay City Commissioner Brentt Brunner says he does support a cap on licensing and told ABC12, "The market will decide what it is and is not ready for."

But even marijuana giants like Lume struggle to stay in the game here, as they look to open stores in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Portage.

Whether pot shops stay or go, the fact that they were here at all can be a good thing for the city.

“If this business didn't work, then hopefully another business will come behind it, be it another operation that sells the same product or a completely different business,” said Girard.

With 50 licenses in Bay City available for marijuana retail, it doesn't appear the industry here will be burning out anytime soon.

Bay City, along with Ann Arbor and Battle Creek lead the state in the most retail marijuana stores.

Right now, there are 23 total approved recreational and medical retail marijuana facilities in Bay City, 10 out of 12 with licenses are open and 11 locations are approved with provisional certificates with three more nearly ready for review.

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