College towns, unsurprisingly, garner high cannabis retail density, said Michelle Donovan, senior counsel for Detroit-based Clark Hill PLC with a specialization in cannabis licensing, regulations and other issues.
She pointed to Ann Arbor as well as Kalamazoo and Adrian — not just home to Adrian College but also near the border with Ohio, which has approved only medical cannabis.
From the beginning, some smaller cities saw cannabis as an opportunity to create needed new economic activity, said Ann Arbor-based cannabis attorney Travis Copenhaver with Vicente Sederberg LLP.
Copenhaver mentioned Bay City, whose rules allow 50 retailers in the municipality with a population of 33,000. Lansing, with a population of more than 117,000, will let in up to 28. Tiny Vassar with less than 3,000 residents has four active license holders, and is allowing one recreational retailer per medical license holder.
While Michigan’s cannabis industry is undoubtedly surging, Donovan said there’s still a distinct lack of availability compared with demand.
“You’re good if you’re in a college town, for sure. It doesn’t make it accessible for, you know, somebody who might live in northern Macomb County … where are they going to go?” Donovan said.
Delivery can bridge some of those gaps — Lapeer County dispensary Pure Lapeer, for instance, delivers 60 miles from its store and that includes much of Macomb County.