WEDNESDAY, March 25 — While much of Michigan remains on pause amid a coronavirus-induced lockdown, the medical and recreational marijuana scene in Greater Lansing is showing no signs of deceleration.
Skymint — the retail face of Dimondale-based cannabis giant Green Peak Innovations —opened Lansing’s fourth recreational marijuana dispensary, at 2508 S. Cedar St., this month. And CEO Jeff Radway said construction continues on at least three more dispensaries across Greater Lansing. Two could open by summer.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered nonessential businesses and construction projects to close (or switch to remote operations) until at least April 13. But Michigan’s marijuana industry escaped the lockdown. According to state officials, both medical and recreational operations have been deemed “essential.” And Radway said that immunity has also allowed his construction projects to continue as planned.
“We’ve also provided letters to all of our contractors that deem them part of a critical infrastructure,” he added.
Under Whitmer’s order, dispensaries were forced to close their in-store retail operations this week but can still maintain curbside pickup or delivery for both recreational and medical customers. Skymint is offering 10% discounts on all online orders; Radway hopes customers will continue to virtual shop from his Lansing store.
“The impact of the virus is substantial,” Radway said. “On a daily basis, our managers and the 300-plus people in our organization talk about how to handle this, how to get more supplies, how we can stockpile masks, gloves, sanitation wipes, things that in the normal course of business, wouldn’t be a big deal.”
State regulations, paired with Green Peak’s general business practices, ensure that marijuana is grown in an almost medically sterile environment to prevent product contamination from seed to packaged flower. But Radway said extra precautions have been taken, including enhanced cleaning and filtration at local grows.
And while competing with other companies for a limited number of protective supplies, Radway said his cultivation chain doesn’t necessarily use the same products as hospitals and isn’t furthering a state shortage.
“This has been a challenge for our consumers and employees alike, but we’re working through it,” Radway told City Pulse. “We’re cleaning surfaces on an hourly basis and stepping up standards that already far exceed CDC or state requirements. We’re offering paid time off to our hourly staff. We just want to keep everyone healthy.”
Green Peak can harvest up to 30,000 cannabis plants at its state-of-the-art growing facilities outside Lansing to supply both the recreational and medical marijuana industry through seven dispensaries in Michigan. And even amid a global pandemic, business has been booming. Recent figures show Michigan’s recreational and medical sales climbed by more than 20% last week alone. But Radway isn’t necessarily counting on a continued surge.
“We did see a slight uptick in sales,” Radway added. “Since we’re selling on the medical and the recreational side, we’re obviously grateful that the state has considered cannabis to be an essential business in Michigan. I think we might see it level out. Just like grocery stores, people are realizing these places will remain supplied and open.”
Skymint’s first Lansing location, on Cedar Street, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. By May, Radway hopes to open two more medical and recreational dispensaries in the region — including one along West Street in East Lansing and another dispensary in Lansing at the corner of Saginaw Highway and Pennsylvania Ave.
A fourth shop could also eventually open across from Whole Foods on the west side of Meridian Township.
In Lansing, Skymint is among only four recreational marijuana dispensaries. The others are Pure Options and HomeGrown Cannabis Co. on Pennsylvania Avenue and Stateside Wellness on Kalamazoo Street.
Visit skymint.com for more details about other locations in Michigan or to place an order online.
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