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Adult-use marijuana store opens in Harrisville

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Melissa Moore, left, gets a close look, and smell, of some marijuana she considered purchasing from Consume Cannabis Co. employee Maddie Lane. Consume had its grand opening in Harrisville on Friday, and Moore was the first customer at the new store.

HARRISVILLE — The first customer for the new adult-use marijuana store in Harrisville took her place in line at 8:30 a.m. Friday, in anticipation of the grand opening planned for 90 minutes later.

Consume Cannabis Co, the first-of-its-kind business in the small city, soon had more than a dozen people waiting patiently to make a purchase of recreational use or medical marijuana, shortly after the doors opened.

Consume joins Rogers Township’s Meds Cafe and Onaway’s Sticky Bush Farms as the only facilities to sell marijuana in Northeast Michigan.

Two medical marijuana shops, Green Buddha and Lume Cannabis Company, are planned for Alpena, but are not yet opened.

Consume Operations Director Jake Coward said the store’s staff and the community are excited for the facility to finally open. He said Consume has seven other stores in Michigan and Illinois, but the new one in Harrisville gives the company a chance to branch out to a new region. Coward added it is possible other Consume-branded shops could open in communities in the area, but did not specify where or when.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Consume Cannabis Co. employee Maddie Lane weighs some marijuana while at work on Friday. Consume officially opened for business in Harrisville with a grand opening and became the third marijuana business in Northeast Michigan.

“We love to work with small, local communities like Harrisville where we can have a presence and make a positive impact on people’s lives,” Coward said. “We are always open to evaluating any opportunity that presents itself, but we have our hands full now with plenty of other sites we are working on, but we’re excited to continue the progress.”

Store Manager Jillian James said Consume is different from a lot of other companies that sell recreational and medical marijuana. She said the use of the drug isn’t one size fits all, and helping people find the product that suits their needs best is critical in making the purchase and consumption easy and comfortable.

“It’s all about education,” James said. “We are here to make information easily accessible to new patients and customers who are new to the products. It is easy to talk to us one-on-one, and the staff is very knowledgeable.”

Harrisville Mayor Jeff Gehring said it was a long process from the time the city council passed a motion to allow marijuana business to the grand opening, but he believes it will pay off for everyone.

“It is a beautiful facility. The people are great, and they are going to be a big part of our community, and we’re excited to have them,” Gehring said.

Despite the benefits it could have on local tax revenues, few municipalities in the area allow the sale of adult-use marijuana.

Each municipality that has a marijuana business receives needed revenue, as does the county the business is located in.

Rogers Township, in Presque Isle County, received $28,001 in tax revenue for allowing Meds Cafe to operate within its borders, while Presque Isle County got $56,002 for the two shops open there.

Gehring said having Consume open is about more than money, but admitted any additional revenue from it is welcome and needed.

“We have multiple projects coming that we could use revenue like this to help pay for,” he said. “We have a playground project that is sort of in flux right now that it could help, as well as the sewer project we will get deeper into later this summer. That kind of revenue would go a long way to help offset some of the costs of those.”

In 2019, the Alpena Municipal Council opted out allowing the sale of recreational marijuana, as allowed under Prop. 1, which was a ballot initiative passed by voters in 2018 that legalized the use and sale of recreational marijuana.

The council decided last year to create an ordinance to allow medical marijuana to be sold, but the revenue the city will receive will not be in the same ballpark as other communities that allow the sale of the drug to people 21 and older.

The City of Alpena announced Friday, a special workshop is slated for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. where changes to the current medical marijuana ordinance are on the agenda.

The city faced some backlash, and a lawsuit that was dropped earlier this year over how it scored applications during the selection process for proposed medical marijuana shops.

The city, which now allows for unlimited marijuana businesses to operate, intends to amend its ordinance.

Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora said he is behind moving forward and allowing adult-use marijuana in the city, and added there is a chance the topic comes up at some point during the meeting next week.

“If it isn’t discussed then, it will certainly come up at some point,” Waligora said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

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