New Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Kalkaska
"Maybe it will liven up Kalkaska a little bit more and bring back some life to it." - Customer Ashton Micheau
Recreational marijuana is a growing business. Now one northern Michigan community is getting another marijuana dispensary.
The Village of Kalkaska has just over 2,000 residents – fewer than 5,000 in the township and under 20,000 in the entire county. But business is strong enough that a fourth recreational marijuana facility is opening its doors.
Lume Cannabis is making a big statement with its investment in the small community. Nate Adkins is a Launch Team Leader for Lume Cannabis Co. “Getting the license is the big thing. And a big thing for us is we like to get licenses in cities that welcome us and cities that want us there. And we felt that with Kalkaska.”
Lume is adding more than a dozen new jobs to Kalkaska. “We employ anywhere from about 15 to a store, to 37 in a store,” Adkins says. “At this location we have 17-18 people and they are all from the Kalkaska area and surrounding areas.” And Lume says that’s also true about their customers – who have limited options for recreational marijuana. “We do get a lot of people that come over from Traverse City or might just be passing through to get to Traverse City. So we are attracting the Traverse City crowd. And we welcome them to come here. It is our closest location to them currently.”
Adkins says Lume is pretty happy with their location right off the highway in Kalkaska. So is new customer Ashton Micheau who lives outside of town. “I’m a recreational user and not a medical user. Traverse City thus far has been mostly medical so I like to stay over here… so this makes it my first choice.” Traverse City doesn’t offer recreational use.
Lume’s economic imprint is felt in other 20 stores across the state, and a grow facility in Osceola County. Adkins says, “We do have our own grow facility. It’s roughly around 150,000 sq. feet over in Evart, Michigan.”
Misty Groleau is a downtown business owner at Small Town Girls Creative Studio. She says she sees benefits from the local dispensaries, too. And that’s especially true because surrounding communities don’t offer recreational use. “It’s only helping us. Because then we’re bringing in people from Traverse City. And Cadillac is the same way,” Groleau says. “I have noticed a lot more traffic. I have noticed more foot traffic and people inquiring about Kalkaska. And something I’ve really noticed is the jobs it’s brought into the community.”
It’s also brought tax revenue. Recreational sales in Michigan topped $340 (M) million last year – and the state shared nearly $10 (M) million with local governments; and more than $11.5 (M) million went to the School Aid Fund. The state reports that 100 municipalities and local governments received a payout in March, and are in line for another payout in September.
Kalkaska County and the Village- with six total stores (3 in the Village and 3 others in the county as of March) got more than $84,000 per recreational store. By comparison – neighboring counties Grand Traverse and Antrim Counties got nothing – with no recreational sales in 2020.
That has people like Groleau excited about the potential for more growth. “I see the potential impact of it bringing people downtown.” She says Lume’s opening, and the upcoming opening of another store, are worth getting excited about. “I feel like that opening up is only going to draw people downtown. We work really hard to be able to bring everybody in and give them a reason to stop by.”