I know what you’re thinking: Another dispensary is coming to Lansing? We already have more than a dozen pot shops open across the region. How many more can the Capital City handle?
Well, ask the folks at Herbana in Ann Arbor and the answer is simple: At least one more.
And after taking a trip to Tree Town last weekend to check out one of its stores in action and pick up an assortment of Herbana’s in-house product line, I think our city is in for a real treat.
City Clerk Chris Swope’s office granted conditional licensing approvals for both medical and recreational marijuana sales to Arbor Farm at 2001 W. Saginaw St. last March and July. An extension granted this year gives the company until March 25 to open its doors, though city officials said they wouldn’t be shocked to see the place fully open for business by January.
Construction permits have since been pulled and crews were still working to renovate the interior this week. A green hue from the Herbana sign illuminates the street out front at night.
And yes, I got all your emails: I’ve been watching it come together too. Here’s what I’ve found:
Branded under the name Herbana, the pot shop is a sort of sister company to Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor — one of the state’s oldest dispensaries and the first to be recreationally licensed in the state. It’s also a subsidiary to one of Michigan’s largest cannabis empires, Arbor Holdings, which operates its own cultivation and processing facilities, Arbor Farm and Arbor Kitchen, as well as two other medical and recreational Herbana dispensaries in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.
In an interview with City Pulse in 2019, Arbors Wellness owner James Daly described the company as one of the largest license holders for growing operations in Lansing. Back then, the company had plans to renovate a massive industrial growing space on the corner of Hosmer and Hazel streets to house another 15,000 plants. That building is now being renovated into a cultivation facility for Ascend Wellness, but Arbor Holdings is still carving out a wider footprint in Lansing — with plans to open its first retail location in the city before the end of March.
The building, an old Michigan Catholic Credit Union, is the former home of Walk In Truth Ministries, which sold the property for $215,000 last May to 2001 Saginaw LLC, county records showed. It was sold again three months later last August for $1 million to 2001 W Saginaw LLC.
Local residents might recognize the iconic dome’s twin off Larch Street, which is now Chen’s Chinese Restaurant. Both were designed and constructed as bank buildings in the ’50s.
Messages left for Daly and other company officials at Arbor Wellness and Herbana locations in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor weren’t returned this week. State records show the company has yet to receive a license for the Lansing location from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. A state spokesman said that means it either hasn’t applied for a state license or its application for a license is still pending approval before the Marijuana Regulatory Agency.
So, while we all eagerly await the arrival of another addition to Lansing’s thriving cannabis economy, I took a trip to Ann Arbor to get a sneak preview of what’s in store for Lansterdam.
The entranceway, like most pot shops nowadays, was sleek and inviting — including a cozy digital fireplace and a welcoming reception area. Wall-to-wall glass cases displayed a medley of different flower strains, concentrates, edibles and more. My biggest takeaways: The place was stunningly clean. And the staff inside (who all wore face masks) were exceptionally helpful.
Budtenders steered me toward Herbana’s in-house brands, which were grown by the same company under the name Arbor Farm and packaged in-house under the Arbor Kitchen brand.
The best of the haul was a $17 gram of Zkittlez x Kush Mints — an indica-leaning crossbreed that merged the fruitiness of Zkittlez with Kush Mints’ mild mint tingle, resulting in a tropical explosion that seemed to pack the flavors of seven sweet and citrusy fruits into one dank flower.
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This building was actually the West Saginaw branch of Michigan National Bank for many many years. I don't believe it ever opened as a credit union because of the pandemic, but former employees of Michigan National Bank will want to appreciate its heritage. Thanks.
Thursday, December 9, 2021 Report this