Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of 10 stories revisiting and recapping the biggest non-coronavirus news in Manistee in 2020.
Manistee saw its first two marijuana retailers this year. Let’s take a look back on the long road it took before the grand openings.
Great Lakes Natural Remedies was the first marijuana business to announce plans to open in Manistee in 2020. There is already a Great Lakes Natural Remedies location in Benzonia.
President Trevor Wisniewski told the News Advocate in March about his plan to open a medical and recreational use location in Manistee by summer 2020. However, the project ran into issues related to the pandemic and Wisnieski asked Manistee City Council in August for an extension on his permit. City council granted the request and extended the permits until April 2020 for all marijuana licenses that were already in effect.
Meds Cafe, which has locations in Lowell and Rogers City, also applied for a permit to have a new location on Arthur Street, in Manistee. Both companies would need to progress on their plans by April.
By the end of August, Manistee had its first marijuana retailer. Dunegrass opened Aug. 27 and offers flower in various forms such as loose or pre-rolled, concentrates, waxes, topicals and edibles.
“We feel the customer experience is a big deal and everything we can do to let everyone know that we’re grounded in northern Michigan and big fans of the area,” Eric Piedmonte, Dunegrass chief operations officer, said at the opening.
Then in September, Manistee sold its former recycling center property to Oowee Farms, LLC, a company interested in using the site as a marijuana growing location. The same month, Filer Township rejected a special use application permit for a marijuana retailer in the township, citing parking concerns.
Manistee’s second marijuana retailer, Authentic 231, opened its doors in November. Authentic 231 offers 12 strains of flower — different strains mean different effects of the marijuana — as well as vape cards, edibles, different types of concentrates and local CBD products.
The retailer also emphasizes local connections and a passion for the Manistee area.
Manistee City Council brought forward the possibility of allowing unlimited marijuana licenses within the only area of the city where such retail is currently allowed. The city calls this area the Marihuana Overlay Sales District and it runs about 0.6 miles along Arthur Street roughly between Monroe Street and Lakeshore Road.
The discussion was tabled until after April 1, when permit extensions end for the retailers that have already applied for licenses.