Lansing’s former Best Buds provisioning center was one of my all-time favorite cannabis institutions in Michigan. I have fond memories of my time as a patient and later as a vendor at the East Michigan Avenue dispensary, which was run by a unique group of caregivers with a deep connection to the cannabis community and an authentic passion for the plant. I first became acquainted with the store while working as the campaign manager for the ill-fated MI Legalize campaign to legalize recreational cannabis. The operators were ardent supporters of legalization and cannabis rights in Michigan. The store exemplified the strong ethos and community around medical cannabis that radiated from the capital city and its many cannabis retail locations.
Shortly after the Lansing City Council reformed medical cannabis and created a licensing system, the location was shuttered and fell subject to the administrative drudge that is Lansing city government. Over the years, operators have come and gone in the turbulent legal cannabis industry. But after years of uncertainty, the location at 2617 E. Michigan Ave. has opened with a new operator, Lake Life Farms. The company is family-owned and operated, with staff who have been active in the cannabis scene since the caregiver and legacy market era. The business also operates a cultivation and processing facility that specializes in top-shelf hash and other solventless products. Its consumer-facing brands, Ice Kream Hash Co. and Saucey, have quickly become known throughout the industry for offering quality products at accessible prices.
In my opinion, the thing that makes Lake Life Farms unique is how knowledgeable and passionate its staff is about cannabis. It would be easy for this group to use its industry knowledge and rock-solid standard operating procedures to crank out high-THC, terpene-rich mids. But these operators are committed to cultivating a brand that’s sustainable and profitable and known for quality and consistency, as opposed to a few real estate guys who made a killing holding market space for their corporate overlords.
Lake Life Farms’ commitment to quality is evident in its product offerings from its own brands as well as the brands carried in its stores. The Lansing store has launched with some of the most widely known and respected names in Michigan cannabis, many hailing from Lansing and almost all having caregiver and legacy market roots. Director of Operations Kendra Godette is a Lansing native who gained a lot of experience in the Lansing caregiver and legacy markets. We talked fondly of the time when almost 90 gray-market trap stores dominated the city’s cannabis trade and the spirit of community was much more prevalent. This spirit is what Lake Like Farms is trying to recapture and grow in its Lansing store.
The retail location, nestled between Michigan State University and downtown Lansing, will serve as a space for consumers and patients to access and find information about some of the only legal solventless products that truly compete with the offerings available through the legacy market. In addition, though its own vertically integrated brands, it’s able to bring unique top-shelf offerings to consumers at a truly accessible price. The dispensary is looking to become the premier retailer of old-school hash like full-melt, temple balls, live rosin and live-rosin-infused pre-rolls. Godette also told me that the business is close to introducing aged hash and will sell it deli-style in the store from a huge block, a throwback to the old Lansing trap stores.
Godette and the other operators and owners of Lake Life Farms have a very authentic and intricate understanding of the cannabis industry, both on the retail and wholesale sides. I believe this location will quickly become the flagship store for the former caregiver group that has three other retail locations in Cedar Springs, Big Rapids and Stanton. Lansing consumers have a great palate for hash and other fine cannabis products. I think this location will offer some of the most accessible and best-quality hash that people will be able to find in the legal market. I also believe these folks know enough about the industry and consumer trends to make this retail location thrive.
It’s important that we use our dollars to vote for the industry and cannabis community we all want to see. There are many people in Lansing who miss the community and feeling of opportunity that permeated the old medical community in the times before full regulation. I implore these folks to give Lake Life Farms a chance. I think they’ll find the care, passion and quality that seemed so much more present before all the Chads showed up and turned everything into a THC and price arms race. Together, we can lift up good operators and take back our culture from the profiteering carpetbaggers dragging it toward commodification.
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