GRAND RAPIDS — Two more medical cannabis provisioning centers are seeking city approval to add retail recreational sales, bringing to at least six the total number of stores operating with or pursuing recreational licenses in Grand Rapids.
Five Lakes Farms, doing business as Pharmhouse Wellness, and FPAW Michigan LLC, doing business as Michigan Supply and Provisions, are seeking special land use approval at a Nov. 12 City Planning Commission meeting. Both already sell medical marijuana at their locations.
If approved, the planning commission resolution would go into effect on Nov. 28, and both businesses hope to start recreational sales soon after.
The first legal sale of recreational cannabis in Grand Rapids took place on Oct. 23 at Fluresh LLC. The dispensary at 1213 Phillips Ave. SW was also the first medical provisioning center to open its doors in Grand Rapids in February. Three additional medical dispensaries have land use approval to add recreational sales, as MiBiz reported this week.
Michigan Supply and Provisions proposes to retrofit an adjacent portion of its medical marijuana dispensary for recreational sales at 2741 28th St. SW. The company expects to have 33 employees at its roughly 5,000-square-foot location between Woodland Mall and Breton Road SE, according to its application.
“We think it’ll be pretty significant” to add recreational sales, said Joshua Smith, supervisor at Michigan Supply and Provisions’s 28th Street location. “The Grand Rapids market seems super eager for this to be here.”
The company has four other medical and recreational dispensaries across Michigan. Its parent company, Ascend Wellness Holdings, oversees dispensaries in five states.
Michigan Supply and Provisions also plans to open a medical dispensary at 1336 Scribner Ave., just north of Leonard Street NW near the Grand River in Grand Rapids.
Pharmhouse Wellness, located at 831 Wealthy St. SW, is locally owned and operated by Casey Kornoelje. The project seeks to combine six parcels for co-located medical and recreational cannabis retail, growing and processing facilities. The medical provisioning center has been operating at the address for roughly a year.
“We’re cautiously optimistic for the review, but are very much hoping we’ll be able to access this market,” Kornoelje said.
Expanding the business to recreational customers will greatly increase the company’s customer base, Kornoelje said. He plans to hire 10 more retail employees and 10 more staff that will work on the growing and processing side.
Kornoelje’s application was prioritized and fast-tracked under the city’s cannabis social equity initiative, which includes qualifiers such as diversity and equity in hiring, local ownership and whether applicants have been affected by prior cannabis convictions.
“I am a local, I have lived in the city for a long time and have a history of being affected by the war on drugs and have family members with a similar experience,” Kornoelje said. “It truly is ironic. Every day I wake up and basically pinch myself because I can’t believe that what I’m doing now for a living previously put me in handcuffs.”
Kornoelje expects to be selling recreational cannabis by December 2020 if the planning commission request is approved.
“I don’t plan to change anything other than this will broaden our market for our little business,” Kornoelje said. “The patients and customers are our utmost concern.”