Marijuana Harvest Season Takes Off in Michigan

It’s harvest season and that includes one of Michigan’s newest crops, marijuana.

The recreational marijuana industry in Michigan is less than two years old but already outpacing many other states. That includes growers. Due to marijuana still not being legal at the federal level, growing it in one state and crossing state lines to sell it, is illegal.

“The stigma is gone now,” said Tom Buggia, owner and farmer of 420 Medz near Coleman.Screen Shot 2021 09 20 At 52838 Pm

Buggia spent the past six years building and growing marijuana farms in Washington state but the red tape and climate issues out west drew him back to his home state.

That’s where he is now, growing one of the latest outdoor marijuana farms in Michigan.

Indoor does a superior product, it’s a very expensive product,” said Buggia, “With a big barrier to entry to get into it because it takes $10-$15 million to really build a facility.”

Indoor grown marijuana can sell for three times as much but can cost 20 times as much to grow. Growing up a gardener, he looked around and realized the plants can grow just fine outdoors.

“Tomatoes and peppers? I didn’t really see any of those guys doing warehouses in Seattle with lights,” said Buggia.

One of the biggest issues when trying to decide where you’re going to put down your roots for your marijuana farm isn’t about soil composition or the climate but where it’s going to be accepted. A lot of townships and communities have opted out of the industry, so growers must find one like Wise Township. The township benefits greatly, they have had four growers in the township pay $225,000.

“Last week we had a group of roughly 40 and 50 other townships that Wise Township asked to come do a tour and I hosted the tour,” said Buggia, “They got to really see what the worst of the outdoor thing is and that’s the smell and it’s not that bad.”Screen Shot 2021 09 20 At 52852 Pm

With a history in commercial construction, the high fences, irrigation set-up and security systems were the easy part for Buggia. The success of his 12 acre, 9,000 plant operation rested on the Michigan weather and so far, in his first summer, it’s been a success.

A success that may lead to even more growth in the future.

“There’s another 40 acres behind us that is part of this property that we can expand,” said Buggia, “We’ll just see how it goes. I don’t plan anything that far ahead. Two weeks is a long time for me.”