Before the state of Michigan legalized marijuana, various areas in the Southwest were filled with empty storefronts and warehouses. However, the plant’s legalization brought with it marijuana-industry investors into the state who were looking for locations to process and grow plants, as well as establish dispensaries.
City leaders in southwest Michigan state that the marijuana industry has brought more than 10 years’ worth of redevelopment to the area, adding that even more projects are scheduled to begin in the next year or so. In the last two years alone, the sum investment in equipment and buildings in Buchanan and Niles has surpassed $50 million, with the cities noting that more than 250 new employment opportunities have been created in each city. Additionally, taxes collected by the state from cannabis businesses in the area have been allocated to different communities.
Thus far, there are nearly a dozen provisioning/dispensing centers in Edwardsburg, Buchanan and Niles, with plans to launch more, including micro-businesses. In addition to this, there are more than 10 growing operations in the Galien, Eau Claire, Benton Harbour, Buchanan and Niles Townships, with more planned.
Apart from the willingness of local officials to consider cannabis businesses, investors are also interested in the area because of the many available empty buildings that can be turned into facilities to cultivate, process and pack marijuana or establish dispensaries. Other investors have also been attracted to the abandoned storefronts in Buchanan and Niles, planning to turn them into adult-use and medical dispensaries, providing convenience for consumers from Indiana as well as other locations.
Officials are hopeful that the investments and employment opportunities will continue to increase in the near future as the marijuana market develops further in Buchanan, Niles and other areas. The development of the marijuana market throughout the state is also facilitating the entrance of new businesses such as Biggby Coffee and Culver’s, as foot traffic increases.
Earlier in March, the state’s Department of Treasury announced that it would be dispensing $10 million to more than a hundred counties and municipalities as part of the taxes gathered on recreational cannabis sold in the state. Department officials added that roughly $24 million would be divided evenly between the Michigan transportation fund and K-12 education.
Most of the buildings that have been occupied by marijuana retailers and cultivators might have otherwise been torn down. For instance, the Simplicity plant, which covers roughly 750,000 square feet and is currently being restored for use by marijuana processors and cultivators, was due to be torn down.
The economic benefits that cannabis firms bring to Michigan can be viewed as a microcosm of what is happening in all states where legal marijuana markets exist and entities like Chalice Brands Ltd. (CSE: CHAL) (OTCQB: CHALF) are allowed to operate.
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