Ready to light up

Lume Cannabis Company, 116 N. Washington St. in downtown Owosso, is hosting a grand opening for recreational marijuana from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 25.

OWOSSO — Lume Cannibis Company officials are anticipating such a large crowd for their grand opening for recreational marijuana on Feb. 25, they’re going to use a downtown parking lot for overflow cars.

Owosso City Council members voted Tuesday to grant Lume’s request for the exclusive use of the southwest portion of the Comstock Street parking lot south of Roma’s restaurant, between Park and Saginaw streets, for the overflow traffic the business expects to see between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the event at Lume’s retail store, 116 N. Washington St.

Council members approved the parking lot closure unanimously, without discussion, as part of its consent agenda. The business plans to run a shuttle bus back and forth to the city lot.

“Owosso has welcomed us with open arms, and we’re excited to give back to the community,” Lume store manager Doug McLaughlin-Williams said Tuesday before the meeting. “The doors open at 10 a.m. and customers just need a valid state ID. Lume is just happy to be here. We’re glad we’re turning this corner.”

The city council approved recreational marijuana facilities in Owosso earlier this month. Under the new rule, retail facilities may offer recreational marijuana starting Feb. 24, the day before Lume’s grand opening.

McLaughlin-Williams said he anticipates recreational sales will far exceed medical marijuana — also available at Lume — because medical requires a doctor’s prescription. All a person needs to purchase recreational marijuana is to be at least 21 years old and present valid Michigan identification.

Customers converging on Lume Feb. 25 will probably number in the hundreds, at least, Lume officials said. And that’s mainly through word of mouth, as advertising has been kept to a minimum, McLaughlin-Williams said.

The Century 21 office next door to Lume has agreed to let the customers wait in line inside the real estate office, in order to spare them from standing outside in the cold. Medical marijuana patients will enjoy a fast-track line.

Inside Lume, customers can enjoy beverages supplied by Foster Coffee, special cookies featuring Lume’s firefly logo baked by Bea’s Bakery and balloons from Owosso Floral & Gifts.

Lume officials said they made a point of hiring local businesses to help with the grand opening because they want to be a good neighbor. They asked for an overflow parking area so their event won’t impede sales at nearby businesses.

Of course, customers will also be able to purchase marijuana, which Lume’s website touts as locally grown and hand-trimmed. Just how much marijuana can be bought at the event is unclear. Lume management hasn’t decided on purchase restrictions for the grand opening yet, but it won’t exceed the state limit of 2.5 ounces per person.

Lume officials know something about the size of crowds that come to grand openings for recreational marijuana, having recently conducted such an event at the company’s sister store in Evart in Osceola County. That store even offers delivery service.

The Michigan-based Lume has other retail medical marijuana stores in Kalamazoo and Adrian, and a medical/recreational store in Benzie County’s Honor, according to the company’s website.

Owosso’s new rules for recreational marijuana allow an unlimited number of recreational marijuana growers, processors, safety compliance facilities and secure transporters to set up shop in Owosso.

However, the number of retailers of either medical or recreational marijuana cannot exceed four. For example, if the city has authorized three medical marijuana retailers, then only one additional retailer of medical or recreational could be approved for a fourth location.

But if Owosso has approved all four medical retail licenses — which currently is the case — then no additional licenses are available for recreational marijuana. There’s an exception for current holders of medical retail licenses like Lume, which can expand their operations to include recreational sales under the same roof.

Notably, the new ordinance prohibits the five new types of licenses available from the state of Michigan for recreational marijuana facilities: microbusiness, excess grower, designated consumption establishment (lounge or club) and event organizer for temporary marijuana events.

Another provision states the Owosso Planning Commission can review the number of recreational marijuana businesses at the one-year mark of the ordinance’s implementation “to re-evaluate and determine if the number allowed needs to be adjusted.”

Michigan voters approved recreational marijuana in November 2018. The following month, the Owosso City Council imposed a moratorium on licensing to give the state time to formulate licensing rules.

In July 2019, the state released “emergency” rules for recreational facilities. In 2008, Owosso residents voted for medical marijuana, 60 to 40 percent. So far in the area, only Owosso, Chesaning and Laingsburg have opted to allow marijuana businesses. Laingsburg and the village of Chesaning allow both medical and recreational facilities.

Chesaning — the first in the area to say yes to the marijuana industry — already has operational marijuana businesses, including a recreational business.

The cities and villages that have voted against medical and/or recreational marijuana facilities include Corunna, Durand, Perry, Morrice, Byron, New Lothrop, Bancroft, Vernon, Lennon, Ovid and Elsie.

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