Since the legalization of recreational cannabis, in addition to medical, in 2018, Kalamazoo has been experiencing a dispensary takeover. Even though Kalamazoo has a minimum of 15 dispensaries, there are still more being built. Is Kalamazoo trying to become the cannabis capitol of Michigan, or are we being taken over by dispensaries? 

Accessibility 

Not only is there a surplus of stores and products, but there are different kinds of product and different ways of getting that product.  

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The obvious marijuana product that probably makes up the majority of sales is bud, or flower. Now, depending on which dispensary you visit, you have a large selection of flower, concentrates (wax), cartridges, edibles, etc. to choose from. There is a kind of luxury when buying from dispensaries, being able to know and choose your strain of flower or concentrate is becoming a new must when purchasing marijuana. People don’t want to just know the grower; they also want to know the specific strain and strength to keep track of what works best for them as an individual. This versatility in product extends beyond humans. At some dispensaries there are even CBD treats for your dog. 

Seeing as the recreational use of marijuana is only going to continue to rise in Michigan, the ways one can seek out marijuana has become very diverse. Before the legalization of marijuana, people had to try for a medical card or use their networking skills. Today, however, it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons. Not only can anyone 21+ years old buy recreational weed by going into these various Kalamazoo locations, but there are different methods to ordering.

With apps like Weedmaps and Leafly showing you the nearest locations, ordering online has never been easier. By ordering online, you can have your order ready for inside pick-up or pull up. Some dispensaries even have a drive through to make the flow of ordering go more quickly. Though, perhaps the most impressive is the number of businesses that now deliver marijuana to a person's home. Did anyone think they would see the day ordering marijuana on your phone would be as easy as ordering a pizza? 

What will Kalamazoo become if dispensaries keep popping up? 

My initial plan was to show the before and after locations of each dispensary in Kalamazoo, but then I realized there are just too many to track. The fact that there are at least 15 Cannabis Dispensaries within the Kalamazoo limit alone, means that since the legalization of cannabis in 2018 there has been a surplus of inventory coming to Michigan. While it is clear marijuana was already being sold throughout Michigan, the legalization of this plant has made Michigan the 7th top selling state out of 18 for cannabis products.  

Considering the incoming wave of dispensaries began right before the pandemic, it says a lot about the local community when cannabis stores continue to pop up, but restaurants and other small local businesses are being forced to shut down. This priority shift in local sellers might change the very business structure of Kalamazoo. With a minimum of 15 dispensaries added, and more on the way, businesses like banks, contractors, holistic shops, auto shops, etc. are being replaced faster than anyone even realizes. 

Upcoming: 

Even though Southwest Michigan has already been experiencing a surplus in cannabis businesses and products, it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Check out these upcoming Michigan cannabis businesses and products. 

Tyson 2.0: Heavyweight champ Mike Tyson started his cannabis company in 2017, and appears to be making it’s way towards Battle Creek, MI 

305 Farms: A $110M Indoor Cannabis grow operation is finding it’s way to Lawrence, MI. Bringing along roughly 200 jobs for Van Buren County. 

Saka Spark Mimosa: This Cannabis company from California is reaching Michigan markets with their new cannabis infused wine to dispensaries in Spring 2022 

What are your opinions on the influx of cannabis companies around Kalamazoo, MI? Do you like the versatility in brand and product, or are you overwhelmed by the choices? Parents, how do you feel about Kalamazoo’s dispensary takeover? What do you think this will do for the future of your children's community?

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