Four Detroit-based companies are challenging the city's decision to revoke their cannabis cultivation and processing facility's approvals, following a zoning map update that placed the facility in a drug-free zone. The lawsuit, recently transferred to the Eastern District of Michigan federal court, names Cannabis Professional Design LLC, MB City Transportation LLC, HZ Detroit Holdings 1 LLC, and HZ Detroit Holdings 2 LLC as plaintiffs.
The conflict arose when Detroit Community High School, operational since at least 2009 but not included in the former zoning map, appeared in the new zoning map. This inclusion led to the revocation of the companies' licenses and denial of business license applications. The plaintiffs argue that the city's Board of Zoning Appeals views drug-free zones as an absolute criterion, overriding prior approvals.
The lawsuit emphasizes that the city's action to revoke permits was inconsistent with its usual policy. Past instances of zoning violations by established marijuana businesses did not result in revocation. The companies contend that the city's decision was arbitrary and deprived them of a vested property interest.
The plaintiffs highlight the significant financial impact of the decision, with over $15 million invested in the facility and additional agreements worth more than $20 million potentially at risk. They had also hired over a dozen employees in anticipation of beginning operations.
The lawsuit seeks three forms of relief: a writ of mandus, declaratory relief, and a declaration that the property and facility's permits are valid and enforceable. The companies aim to reverse the revocation of special land use permits, certificates of occupancy, and building permits.
As of now, Eric Gaabo of the City of Detroit Law Department, representing the city, has not commented on the case. Christine Lynne Constantino of Scott F. Roberts Law PLC represents the four companies.
Michigan-based Viridis Laboratories, a cannabis testing company, recently received accreditation from the National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC). This recognition authorizes Viridis to conduct a range of tests on hemp products, including assessments for pesticides, heavy metals, potency, microbiology, and residual solvents. The NIHC accreditation is a significant endorsement, indicating that Viridis adheres to internationally recognized standards, which are valued by global regulators. It also underscores the company's dedication to consumer and patient health and safety.
Greg Michaud, CEO of Viridis Laboratories, expressed his gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the company's commitment to delivering safe, high-quality hemp products. This recognition from the NIHC serves as a confirmation of the company's adherence to the highest quality and safety standards.
For a laboratory to be recognized by the NIHC, it must first obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Viridis achieved this certification for its Lansing and Bay City labs in October, becoming the only cannabis testing company in Michigan to successfully pass A2LA's rigorous testing procedures at that time. The A2LA is internationally recognized in the United States for providing comprehensive laboratory accreditation services.
Despite these recent achievements, Viridis Laboratories has faced significant controversy and accusations. Allegations against the company include insufficient lab supervision, adoption of non-approved potency testing processes, and failure to follow approved microbial testing processes. Viridis has responded to these accusations with counter-claims, including allegations of falsehoods in reports by CRA investigators and criticisms of CRA employees' conduct and qualifications. The company has also highlighted inconsistencies and confusion in the application of internal CRA policies.
The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) has described the early days of legalization as "the Wild Wild West," focusing initially on assisting licensed businesses in understanding regulations rather than strict enforcement. The CRA has admitted that using other labs for quality checks is not ideal and is working towards establishing its own reference laboratory.
In the scientific aspect, CRA backs its policies with studies, such as one indicating that only 1% of all cannabis should exceed 27% THC potency. However, Viridis has been accused of manipulating THC levels by adding kief back into homogenized test samples and using smaller than standard sample sizes, leading to potential inaccuracies.
Furthermore, the Viridis Lansing lab has been reported to detect mold 89% less frequently than other labs, attributed to inadequate analysis time, passing visibly moldy flower, and poor incubation log maintenance.
Initially, Viridis was known for producing unusually low potency test results, which also raised questions about its sample preparation methods.
These controversies, including humorous instances during virtual meetings and debates over evidence categorization, highlight the complex and evolving nature of cannabis regulation and testing in Michigan.
Gas & Middies took on a triple review featuring the cannabis line inspired by the iconic wrestler Ric Flair, known for his larger-than-life persona and his "Woooooo!" catchphrase. The line, aptly named Ric Flair Drip, marks his foray into the Michigan cannabis market. The products are cultivated by Mitten Distro, a notable name in Michigan's cannabis scene, boasting a wide distribution network and a range of products.
Each product comes in packaging inspired by 80s action figures, featuring retro images of Ric Flair.
Rollex OG (Indica):
Faceoff OG (Hybrid):
Despite the allure of Ric Flair's branding, all three strains from the Ric Flair Drip line share a common story: visually decent, acceptable aroma, but significantly lacking in flavor. The best of the trio, if one must choose, is the Trainwreck Sativa. However, none of these strains come recommended.
This review is a condensed version of the original, detailed review available on Gas & Middies. Your source for Michigan cannabis reviews & information. Finding the gas ⛽ through all of the middies 🥱
The Munising Cannabis Company is slated to cease operations permanently by the end of this year, after just one year in business. Jody Irving, the General Manager of Munising Cannabis Co., highlighted the company's unique approach and the financial burdens it entailed.
Unlike traditional dispensaries, Munising Cannabis Co. operated as a microbusiness, which subjected it to different regulatory constraints affecting its sales and production processes. “Our entire operation was self-contained. We grew our cannabis, processed it, and created our edibles all in-house. While this approach was aligned with our vision, it proved to be financially unsustainable, involving high costs in growing, labor, and overall management,” explained Irving.
As the company prepares to close, it is currently offering a 40% discount on all items, a promotion that is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Despite the impending closure, Irving expressed pride in the company's achievements, "We aimed to make Munising proud. Being the only microbusiness in the Upper Peninsula and receiving recognition as the number one in the state by Michigan Green State magazine were significant milestones for us. However, these accolades were not sufficient to keep our business viable."
The company's struggles were exacerbated by its late opening in October of the previous year, missing the crucial tourist season. This delay was attributed to state-level procedural setbacks. "Starting a business in the winter, especially in a tourist-dependent area, posed its own set of challenges," Irving remarked.
The closure of Munising Cannabis Co. will affect its six employees, who are now seeking employment elsewhere. The tentative closing date is set for December 27th, after which the building will be put up for sale or lease. The decision to shut down comes amidst stiff competition from two other marijuana dispensaries in the area and the high costs of maintaining its unique microbusiness model.
For Everyone Collective, a Grand Rapids-based custom screen printing company with a unique social mission, recently inaugurated its first physical retail store on the city's far south side. Located at 2215 29th St. SE, this new storefront, which opened in late October, is situated alongside the company's production facilities.
Distinguished by its commitment to employing formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, For Everyone Collective specializes in custom screen printing and design. The company also has its own line of original clothing, which until now, was available only online. The new 700 square-foot retail space not only offers customers the chance to purchase these designs in person but also provides a welcoming lounge area for both customers and supporters.
Sky Rich, the founder of For Everyone Collective, established the organization in 2018 under the name Forgive Everyone. His aim was to leverage clothing as a medium to spotlight the discrimination faced by people who have been incarcerated. Rich's journey began with an eye-opening realization of the systemic barriers faced by these individuals in areas like employment, housing, and societal acceptance. The initial objective of this screen printing venture was to support prison reentry organizations by donating a portion of each sale.
The evolution of For Everyone from a side project into a full-fledged worker-owned collective is a testament to Rich's dedication and the company's growth. Currently, For Everyone operates out of a 5,000-square-foot space on 29th Street, which encompasses production, design, shipping facilities, and now the new storefront. Despite its relatively small team and modest beginnings, For Everyone has impressively fulfilled 10,000 orders for its custom designs in 2023 alone, averaging about 2,000 screen-printed shirts weekly.
For Everyone's ethos extends beyond just creating meaningful designs. It emphasizes ethical business practices, including paying employees above-living wages, offering comprehensive benefits like free dental, health care, and life insurance, providing unlimited time off, and using ethically-sourced materials.
A notable highlight for For Everyone has been its collaboration with the Last Prisoner Project, a national cannabis reform nonprofit, and the renowned comedy duo Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. This partnership, which focused on a cannabis-themed design, saw Cheech and Chong sporting the shirts in promotional images. A portion of the proceeds from this collaboration was donated to support Last Prisoner Project's constituent support services.
Last Prisoner Project’s Sarah Gersten commended the partnership, emphasizing the shared mission of advocating justice for those adversely affected by the War on Drugs. This collaboration aligns with For Everyone's values and their commitment to raising awareness and supporting those impacted by incarceration.
The significance of For Everyone's mission is underscored by statistics from the Prison Policy Initiative, which reported a stark unemployment rate of 27.3% for formerly incarcerated individuals in 2018, in contrast to the general public’s 5.8% at that time. In Michigan, these challenges disproportionately impact people of color, with over half of the state's prison population being Black, as reported by The Sentencing Project.
This venture by For Everyone Collective not only marks a significant expansion in its business operations but also reinforces its commitment to social justice and community engagement.
Recent survey data from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor reveals a notable trend: over 12% of American adults aged between 50 and 80 have used cannabis products in the past year. This information, derived from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, reflects a growing acceptance and use of cannabis among older demographics.
The survey's findings are significant, with more than one-third (34%) of these older cannabis users reporting usage four or more days per week. This statistic underscores not only the prevalence of cannabis use in this age group but also the regularity of its consumption.
Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, commented on the study, noting the increasing trend of cannabis use among older adults. He attributes this rise to the growing recognition of cannabis as a viable alternative for managing common age-related issues like pain, anxiety, and restless sleep. Many older adults, aware of the severe side effects associated with traditional prescription drugs like opioids or sleep aids, view medical cannabis as a safer option.
The survey aligns with other research indicating a steady increase in cannabis use among older adults and seniors over the past decade. Earlier studies in 2021 also found that most older adults hold positive views about cannabis. Furthermore, several recent studies have linked marijuana use with improvements in the quality of life for seniors.
Delving deeper into the survey's demographics, it was noted that cannabis use varied among different ethnic and social groups. People identifying as Hispanic or other races were less likely to use cannabis compared to non-Hispanic white respondents. Additionally, unmarried/unpartnered and unemployed individuals were more likely to use cannabis, as were those who consumed alcohol.
The findings from this survey, conducted during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlight a significant trend: over one in ten older adults in the U.S. used cannabis during this period, many frequently. These insights are crucial for clinicians and policymakers, who need to be aware of the increasing use of cannabis among older adults and the potential risks associated with it. As legal access to and attitudes toward cannabis continue to evolve rapidly across the nation, it's important for these stakeholders to monitor and address these trends, ensuring safe and informed use among older populations.