MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — The first medical marijuana business along the lakeshore opened this week, but its aim expands beyond opening up access to thousands of patients.
Park Place Provisionary on Park Street south of W. Laketon Avenue opened Monday as the first medical cannabis business in Muskegon and Ottawa counties. The official grand opening is set for Friday.
A special city ordinance in Muskegon helped the company open its doors in the new medical marijuana overlay district (PDF). The city works with developers of medical marijuana businesses to flip dilapidated buildings in an industrial part of town. The goal is to clean up the area and spur new life.
Twenty shuttered buildings were up for grabs. Park Place Provisionary snagged one of the first.
“Within four minutes, I knew that I wanted it,” owner Greg Maki told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.
Maki said the property is a former truck freight terminal built in the 1940s.
“The building’s got good bones, good structure,” Maki said. “We put in new windows and the awning and the sign.”
The parking lot, once overgrown and cracked, has also seen a major face-lift. It’s been repaved, painted and landscaped.
Nearly 40 security cameras have also been added, according Maki. Inside, there’s bulletproof glass and a facial recognition camera as customers sign in. The waiting room and gallery of products are sealed tightly.
But once customers are allowed in, they can see the broad range of products offered: everything from sour gummies infused with THC (the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects) to classic nuggets of medical marijuana.
“We want to be ‘that’ local store,” said Park Place finance director Aaron Smith, also Maki’s nephew.
Smith said management wants customers to be vocal about what new products they would like to see lining the dispensary’s shelves.
He believes the demand for nearby medical marijuana options has gone overlooked until now.
“Muskegon County has, I believe, over 5,500 medical marijuana card holders right now,” Smith stated. “So if we’re just concentrating on this area, there’s a big amount of patients that are around.”
If patrons travel just a few feet north, south, east or west, they’ll see the vacant buildings with boarded windows and massive weeds, but that’s quickly changing. Smith said every building in the area is spoken for or is up for sale. That’s what the city wanted.
“This is a very expensive industry to operate in. So in order to meet the city requirements and the state requirements, (it) involves a very heavy capital investment. So by concentrating on these areas around here that need it the most, in a way, you’re forcing redevelopment in an area,” Smith explained.
He told 24 Hour News 8 that unlike many medical marijuana businesses he has seen opening in West Michigan, Park Place focused on hiring locally. Every employee lives within about 10 miles of the location.