A 'Mom and Pop' Legacy: Celebrating 10 Years of Northern Specialty Health

September 22nd, 2023 Business & Industry
Cover Image

Nestled amid the breathtaking beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula lies a gem not just for nature enthusiasts, but for cannabis aficionados as well. The region, spanning a massive 16,000 square miles, is a beacon for those seeking the tranquil embrace of unspoiled wilderness.

But besides its natural allure, the Upper Peninsula is evolving into a hotspot for cannabis enthusiasts. Post the 2018 legalization, the region now hosts over four dozen licensed dispensaries, accompanied by numerous cultivation and processing facilities. A stark contrast to just a few years ago when Northern Specialty Health was the lone dispensary serving both locals and over a million annual tourists.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Northern Specialty Health stands as a testament to family-owned business success amid burgeoning competition. Owner Penny Milkey, in an exclusive with Michigan Marijuana News, delves deep into the journey of their "Mom and Pop Cannabis Shop."

Journey into Cannabis

Unlike many in the industry, Penny didn't set out with dreams of cannabis entrepreneurship. She came from a teaching background, while her husband Ryan was an electrician. Their foray into cannabis was born out of necessity after Ryan suffered a severe four-wheeler accident in 2007. Discovering the therapeutic potential of cannabis, they started as medical marijuana caregivers before taking the reins of Northern Specialty Health in 2013. Their mission? Ensuring patients had reliable access to their medicinal needs.

Challenges and Triumphs

For Penny, entering an emerging industry wasn't without its hurdles. Advocating for cannabis acceptance involved attending numerous City Council and Planning Commission meetings. But the effort was worth it. A decade later, with their unflinching commitment to patient welfare over profit, and a strong focus on locally-sourced quality products, the Milkeys have carved out a niche for themselves.

Insights and Favorites

Cannabis in the Upper Peninsula, Penny notes, is distinct from Lower Michigan. Trends take longer to trickle up, maintaining a unique marketplace dynamic. And what's flying off the shelves? Unsurprisingly, flower remains a top choice among Yoopers.

As for personal favorites, Penny is a fan of pre-rolls. Particularly, the infused pre-rolled joints by Element, and strains like Mango Haze by Forté and Mafia Funeral by Redemption.

When asked about quirky strain names, Penny recalls the amusingly named "Adios, Motherf—ers," though she ensures they steer clear of anything too controversial.

Celebrations & Exclusive Offers

This December promises to be a month-long celebration for Northern Specialty Health's decade-long journey, with exciting promotions on the horizon.

As Penny fondly notes, visitors to the Upper Peninsula seeking a genuine, homegrown cannabis experience will find no better haven than Northern Specialty Health in Houghton. It's not just about the product; it's about the heart behind it.

Share this article:

Spotted a typo, grammatical error, or a factual inaccuracy? Let us know - we're committed to correcting errors swiftly and accurately!

Missed an issue? Browse our newsletter archive to stay updated on past news!

Other Recent News

Michigan Marijuana News thrives thanks to the dedication and support of its readership. If you depend on our comprehensive cannabis coverage to keep you updated and enlightened, we kindly ask you to think about making a monthly commitment through Patreon. Every pledge fuels our mission and ensures the continuity of quality cannabis journalism in Michigan.
Become a Patron!

Upcoming Cannabis Events