Economic Growth in Mt. Pleasant Driven by Cannabis Retail

June 13th, 2024 Business & Industry
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Mt. Pleasant has become a thriving center for cannabis retail, with 11 dispensaries opened in 2023 and four more planned. This growth has made cannabis sales a booming industry in central Michigan.

What Attracts Cannabis Sellers to Central Michigan?

We spoke with local cannabis industry professionals and city officials to understand why central Michigan, particularly Mt. Pleasant, is an attractive spot for cannabis businesses and how this influx of dispensaries impacts the town.

Economic Benefits and Urban Revitalization

The presence of these dispensaries has brought substantial economic benefits to Mt. Pleasant. According to Aaron Desentz, Mt. Pleasant city manager, the cannabis industry has spurred job creation, filled vacant buildings, initiated new constructions, and contributed to the city's budget through shared revenue.

"From job creation and wrap-around employment opportunities, to the revitalization of vacant buildings and new construction, and the addition to the city's budget from shared revenue, the growth has positive impacts in the community," Desentz explained.

Dispensaries have transformed old buildings into state-of-the-art facilities, improving the town's aesthetics and infrastructure. Matt Roman, director of government relations for Stash Ventures, emphasized their commitment to upgrading existing spaces. "We take traditional lower-use existing buildings and turn them into state-of-the-art facilities," Roman stated. He noted that their dispensaries, including Timber Cannabis Co. at 212 W. Pickard Street, aim to impress with their secure and welcoming environments.

Stash Ventures operates 17 dispensaries in Michigan, with headquarters in Mt. Pleasant. Roman highlighted their approach of not seeking incentives or tax abatements, focusing instead on community enhancement.

Community Contributions and Recognition

Lume, another prominent player in Mt. Pleasant, constructed two new buildings in 2021. Both locations, at 907 E. Broomfield and 1207 North Mission, received community beautification awards from the Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission.

In 2023, Mt. Pleasant added nearly $300,000 to its budget from the state's cannabis tax revenue. Michigan communities that opted for adult-use cannabis sales received over $87 million in revenue for 2023, with each eligible municipality and county receiving over $59,000 per licensed retail store and microbusiness.

Rapid Market Growth

The cannabis industry in Michigan has seen explosive growth. Desentz noted that marijuana sales revenue skyrocketed from $10 million in 2020 to $87 million in 2023. He anticipates Mt. Pleasant's share of revenue to increase as more dispensaries open.

In May 2022, the Mt. Pleasant City Commission removed license caps for marijuana businesses, allowing for more rapid growth. "After watching the first few retailers open for a year, the City Commission felt comfortable with the sustainability of the market," Desentz said. This decision also resolved legal disputes over license caps.

Employment and Community Engagement

Cannabis retailers have also bolstered the local employment base. Stash Ventures employs nearly 70 people, most of whom are full-time local hires. Lume has 25 employees across its two stores. Both companies are committed to community involvement and philanthropy.

Lume engages in various local events and supports initiatives like the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity fundraisers. "We are members of the community. We live and work here and are always looking for ways to get involved and give back," said Laurie Ralston, Lume area manager.

Stash Ventures, through its philanthropic arm Higher Hopes, has donated over $180,000 to local nonprofit organizations since 2020. The company involves its employees in selecting causes to support, ensuring their efforts have a meaningful local impact.

Market Sustainability and Future Outlook

Despite the rapid increase in cannabis retailers, concerns about market saturation remain. However, Roman is not worried about added competition, expecting some consolidation and price adjustments. Stash Ventures recently expanded by purchasing 11 stores from Cloud Cannabis, bringing their total to 17.

Lume, the largest single-state operator with 38 locations, remains committed to its long-term presence. With modern facilities and knowledgeable staff, Ralston believes in their sustained success.


The growth of cannabis dispensaries in Mt. Pleasant has brought economic benefits, revitalized urban spaces, and created jobs. As the industry continues to expand, the town remains optimistic about the future, focusing on sustainable growth and community involvement.

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