GAYLORD — Ian and Whitney Simpson of Bellaire will be doing a lot of commuting to Gaylord.
They will be tending to their marijuana business in the city. Located in the old Goodwill building off of Edelweiss Village Parkway, the Simpsons are in the process of completing a remodeling of the structure and the regulatory process to operate a marijuana microbusiness.
A marijuana microbusiness is permitted under Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
That license will enable the Simpsons to grow up to 150 plants, process and package the marijuana into retail products such as concentrates and edibles and sell it to individuals 21 and older. The owner of these facilities must be a Michigan resident and can’t hold an interest in any other marijuana business.
Ian Simpson said their facility, called Canna, is similar in concept to a roadside stand off the highway in which a farmer grows their own vegetables and sells directly to the public.
“We will have a growing facility in our building, a processing area and a retail section for sales to the public,” he said. “Our plan will also include selling marijuana edibles and other products. Those will also be produced in our facility with the marijuana we have grown.”
Once they obtain final approvals, the Simpsons will not be able to purchase any marijuana from individuals or third-party suppliers to sell to the public.
“We can only sell what we grow,” said Ian Simpson.
Simpson said they will set up an indoor growing operation.
“It’s a common practice and all of the big producers are already doing it,” he added.
Because of the growing and processing, Simpson said the building will require odor control and security systems.
“We will grow our marijuana in dirt with seeds. We think we can produce a higher quality product using dirt,” Simpson said.
The Simpsons will have to monitor the amount of light and water for the plants and carefully check the temperature to get the highest yields.
Ian Simpson said it will take about 150 days to grow one marijuana plant and said 150 plants are more than enough to make it all work financially. The facility will require a six-figure investment.
“We won’t do it in groups of 150. We will probably do it in a group of 10 to 15 plants so we have a continuous harvest throughout the year,” he said.
Simpson expects to get about one pound of marijuana per plant.
They still need city approval of their site plan for the operation.
“We were pre-approved by the state and once we get final approval from Gaylord we go back to the state for their final approval,” he said.
They hope to be open by the spring of 2022.
Simpson believes Gaylord is an ideal location for the business.
“We like the community and it’s close to Bellaire so it’s an easy commute,” Simpson said.
Microbusinesses are expected to add to a cannabis industry boom in Michigan since sales started in 2019. Industry projections forecast recreational marijuana will soon become a $1 billion-plus industry.