The city of Marshall is quickly becoming a busy hub for large-scale medical cannabis operations. While over hundreds of communities in Michigan have opted out of medical cannabis, the city of Marshall has been taking an opposite approach—going in at full throttle.
Michigan Pure Med and Common Citizen are opening a large manufacturing and R&D facility to serve as headquarters in Marshall with the scale capacity of up to 1.2 million square feet of space. It’s one of the largest facilities of its kind in the state. “Michigan Pure Med is the B2B brand and Common Citizen is the B2C brand. Common Citizen has the ability to scale 1.2 million square feet,” Michigan Pure Med President and CEO Michael Elias told CULTURE. “We have 10 provisioning center [licenses] and two processing licenses. Five provisioning centers will be operational by this year and another five will be operational by the end of next year.” Some of the provisioning centers will open in cities that could use some economic rejuvenation like Flint and Detroit.
On Nov. 8, 2018, the company announced its pre-qualification approval for 45 licenses for its 14 subsidiaries from the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) under the Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA). While LARA continues to stabilize its licensing process, some businesses are moving forward at a rapid pace despite the confusion.
The brand has a focus on reaching beyond the normal demographics of the medical cannabis industry. “We have 12,000 years of a harmonious relationship with this plant,” Elias said. “In the last 70 years we’ve been in a state of prohibition and in that time frame we’ve had a lot of misconceptions.” Common Citizen’s goal, he said, is to unravel those misconceptions and bring a little bit more patient-centeredness and education to those he calls the “cannabis curious,” or those who are on the fringe and who are looking for alternatives to alcohol and pharmaceuticals.
Elias clarified that his company is not necessarily trying to be the largest facility in the state. He said the reason the 1.2 million-square-foot property was chosen is because it gives them an advantage to be able to compete with other operators, so that they can deliver a cheaper product. “In terms of economic impact?” he said. “It’s significant. There’s no question. By the time we get to a stable state environment, we’re looking at 400 jobs minimum. Not to mention the 200 jobs just in our retail portfolio.”
“. . . We need to be in municipalities that have opted into rec. Even with the facilities we have in municipalities that decided not to opt into rec, we would have to look very hard at potentially moving out of that municipality.”
Now that recreational cannabis sales arrived in Michigan, over 400 communities have opted out of recreational cannabis businesses. This provides new opportunities for businesspeople like Elias. Large companies have the option of taking their business elsewhere if local municipalities reject allowing medical or recreational cannabis businesses. “The state has spoken and for us to compete, we need to be in municipalities that have opted into rec. Even with the facilities we have in municipalities that decided not to opt into rec, we would have to look very hard at potentially moving out of that municipality,” he said.
Elias added that there are nine recreational sales for every medical sale sold, providing a glimpse at the importance of recreational business that he and others are bringing to Marshall. The future looks bright for areas like Marshall that are taking advantage of legal cannabis op