ALMENA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – The owners of a West Michigan blueberry farm are investing in a marijuana business as they battle back against a turbulent fruit industry.

The Leduc family, working with a team of local partners and investors, is preparing to open the Canna43 medical marijuana provision center off M-43 near Paw Paw.

A photo of the dispensary managed by the same family that owns the Leduc Blueberry Farm in Van Buren County. (Dec. 12, 2019)
A photo of the of the Canna43 provision center that is set to open before January 1. (Dec. 12, 2019)

Canna43 has also broken ground on a grow house next door that will hold 500 cannabis plants.

Antonio Leduc, part owner of Leduc Blueberries and third-generation farmer, says foreign competition from countries like Peru have led to the lowest blueberry prices they have ever seen.

“It’s become extremely challenging to just focus on that one commodity that used to be our lifeline, and now a lot of growers in this area are trying to switch to other crops,” Leduc said.

Family members who are licensed growers approached them with the idea to enter the cannabis industry.

“The more research we did on it,” Leduc said. “The more we liked the idea and thought that there was a lot of potential in it.”

Canna43 hired cannabis expert Chris Guerrin to help launch the provision center.

The dispensary will sell medical marijuana, but hopes to be able to apply and receive approval for an adult use permit to sell recreational marijuana in five months.

The business is working to build its own grow house next door.

“It will be a 500-plant count grow. We’re hoping to have that finished in the spring,” Guerrin said.

A family of longtime blueberry farmers hopes investing in a once illegal crop will help insure their farming future.

“I believe in the future that the stigma is going to be less and less, therefore I wanted to be an innovator in it,” Leduc said. “I wanted to be at the forefront of that.”

Medical marijuana sales at Canna43 are expected to start before the first of the New Year.