LOWELL, Mich. — The state of Michigan is “seeing green” thanks to pot sales.
Last year alone, Michiganders spent more than $300 million on marijuana, and those tax dollars are really helping small towns make improvements.
Meds Café on West Main Street in Lowell just celebrated its one-year anniversary. It was the first legal pot shop to open up in Kent County.
“Citizens throughout Kent County and the City of Lowell had been looking forward to it for quite a while ever since the initial vote in 2018,” said Kyle Miller, director of strategic relations.
The marijuana business was only open a week before the statewide shutdown, so Meds Café has been doing curbside service ever since.
“Overall I’d say it’s been really great,” said Miller. “We’re really proud to have community that welcomed us with open arms and has really embraced us having this opportunity here.”
The location offers cannabis flower, concentrates and edibles along with accessories for smoking.
There’s also CBD and non-THC products offering therapeutic relief.
“We’re really excited to be able to provide that for the community,” Miller said.
“Fifty-eight percent of the residents in the city voted for it,” said Lowell City Manager Michael Burns.
He tells FOX 17 that pot is big business and bringing in big money.
“We operate on a $3.4 million general fund budget as it is now, that’s roughly 10%-11% increase in our revenue,” he said.
It’s the only way the city can raise revenue without raising taxes. It collects property taxes on at least two marijuana businesses in town and just approved 10 more applications for facilities with another pending.
“We anticipate significant revenue coming into the city that is gonna allow us to do some things we can’t,” said Burns.
That includes hiring a full-time police detective and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the roads.
A nice chunk of change for a small city with about 4,000 residents.
The pot business here in Michigan is so popular and profitable that in the last week of February alone, there were more than three dozen companies who either started, finished or renewed their marijuana licenses.
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, the state reported $341 million in adult-use marijuana sales last year and collected $31 million from the 10 percent excise tax.
The department distributed nearly $10 million of that to more than one hundred municipalities and counties, giving those entities $28,000 for every licensed retail store or microbusiness.
“We haven’t had any issues in the year we’ve been doing this; our police department hasn’t seen any changes,” said Burns. “In my opinion this is gonna be a significant revenue enhancer for us to be able to provide our services and be able to address more of our critical needs.”
Annual license renewals also bring in $5,000 per application for the city.
Burns also tells FOX 17 that grow operations are expected to be the largest customers of electricity in the city, which will also bring in more revenue.