East Lansing marijuana store hopes to open near Michigan State in May
EAST LANSING — A new marijuana retail facility, Ascend Cannabis, hopes to open near Michigan State University’s campus in early May.
It will be Ascend Wellness Holdings Michigan’s seventh store, joining locations in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Morenci, Battle Creek, and the company hopes to open another location in Grand Rapids before the end of the year, said Vince Bozman, regional sales manager at detail for the company.
The East Lansing site covers 4.67 acres at the old Sawyers Pontiac dealership at 1415 E. Michigan Ave. Bozman said the company wanted to open in the city because there is no overcrowding of cannabis stores, there are a lot of people who live in the area and smoke marijuana, and MSU is nearby.
“It’s just a big market,” he said during a site visit on Tuesday.
East Lansing City Council has approved the project site plan and special medical marijuana use permit in 2019. The company submitted an application for a special use license to also sell marijuana for adult use, which the Board will vote on at its April 5 meeting.
The business also needs to get a certificate of occupancy before it opens and has more work on the site to do for landscaping, parking, floors, cleaning and installing TVs. Supply chain difficulties are delaying completion, Bozman said.
Once open, the store will feature the company’s product lines like Ozone and Simply Herb and will feature products like flower, edibles and concentrates. Curbside pickup will be available and, at some point, delivery services will be offered.
Although the store is considering getting a license for medical and adult marijuana, it only plans to offer adult-use marijuana but will offer a 15% discount to medical patients, Bozman said.
He said the company has a growing factory in Lansing that manufactures all products for Michigan Ascend Cannabis stores.
“So we’re really part of the Lansing community here,” he said.
April Clark, general manager of East Lansing Ascend Cannabis, said there will be military and senior discounts. The store will initially have 15 to 18 employees and is hiring. people can find open positions on the company’s site.
Both Bozman and Clark said they want to provide a welcoming environment for shoppers, a place where they can feel comfortable asking questions and getting as much attention from budtenders as they want.
Bozman said he wants to reduce the negative stigma around marijuana and normalize its use. Clark said people use the products to improve their lives and help with anxiety and depression.
“I think it will be a good place for all kinds of different people,” she said.
The company plans to become more involved in the community and get involved with the local 420 Music Festival in April. He also wants to inject himself into the community through outreach and volunteerism, whether that’s sponsoring a local baseball team or picking up trash on the freeway, Bozman said.
“So not only are you helping our customers get cannabis, but also making sure we’re making a difference in East Lansing as well,” said.