After all the meetings involving debates over interpretation of laws and heated discussions surrounding social values, the first marijuana dispensary in Monroe Township is now open for business.
Called the Glass Jar, the shop is on S. Telegraph Road south of Albain Road, next to Giuseppe’s Pizza. Monroe Township resident Antonio (Tony) Cusumano owns both Giuseppe’s and the Glass Jar.
The new marijuana store occupies the former Rainbow Center, the controversial methadone clinic that came under fire when several complaints were filed of motorists driving carelessly while leaving the clinic.
“I think it’s an excellent trade-off,” said Monroe Township Supervisor Alan Barron.
Glass Jar is celebrating its grand opening at noon today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several township officials.
The shop, a provisioning center and adult use retail, offers a variety of cannabis products including flowers, the smokable bud of the cannabis plant, concentrates, edibles, topicals and vaporizers. All products are made, produced and grown in Michigan.
In addition to Cusumano, the business is operated by Harrison Carter of Monroe and Ermal Mandija of Troy. According to Carter, general manager, their attorneys first approached Monroe Township in 2019 to develop the facility.
“While the township has been great to work with, some mistakes were made in the adoption of the original ordinance and the township faced ample pressure from other cities and some county commissioners to not adopt an ordinance, or otherwise adopt a very minimal ordinance with license caps,” Carter said. “Therefore, our attorneys worked hand-in-hand with township officials to help develop and support an ordinance that would allow for market competition, provide for safe locations, safe product storage and a revitalization of vacant properties across the township.”
In less than three months, the former methadone clinic was completely renovated and redesigned.
“We were given special land use and site plan review hearing approvals while obtaining and clearing permits at an expedited rate,” Carter added. “Luckily, our team of partners coordinated sufficiently in advance to be able to obtain the materials necessary for construction and development.”
Carter estimated the cost to open the 4,100-square-foot facility was $850,000. He said the investors decided to sell both medical and recreational marijuana products. He said due to nature and rules of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, recreational marijuana edibles cannot exceed 100 mg and medical marijuana can cannot exceed 200 mg.
“Medical marijuana products that have been shown to treat the symptoms of cancer and chemo are highly concentrated,” he said. “To be able to carry these products, Glass Jar would have to operate both recreational and medicinal.”
Attorney Allison Arnold, a partner and director of legislative affairs with Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan, serves as legal counsel for the business. The retired Monroe County assistant prosecutor said the licensing process for marijuana businesses is extremely complex.
“Almost all businesses are involved with legal counsel because it’s a highly regulated industry and licensing is extremely complex,” Arnold said. “After the businesses become operational, complying with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s rules and statutes is also very complicated so businesses are involved with legal counsel.”
Arnold said her firm represents about 200 cannabis businesses in Michigan and assisting businesses in becoming licensed in Michigan and other states. Arnold, the Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Cannabis Law Section, said the agency projects the industry is going to grow rapidly in the next few years.
“It’s estimated that two-thirds of the market for marijuana is the illegal black market so there’s lots of growth opportunity to go from the illegal market to a licensed regulated industry,” she added.
In order to shop at Glass Jar, customers are required to be over 21 and present valid identification. Carter said to combat fake IDs, the firm hired a receptionist with over 15 years of experience in bar and nightclub work.
“We also meticulously review all IDs to make sure no one is presenting fake identification and all adult use customers are 21 or older,” he said.
Medical marijuana patients are required to have the proper proof and out-of-state patients are accepted after identification has been verified. All Michigan marijuana IDs are cross-referenced through the state system to confirm validity before patients can shop with a patient technician, one of the store’s employees.
Since opening Dec. 3, business has been steady at Glass Jar with about 80 percent of sales resulting in recreational products. Carter anticipates the numbers will change as the store increases its amount of medical products.
“Glass Jar is committed to education and patient advocacy,” Carter said. “We are preparing to hold educational sessions to teach people about marijuana products, safe use, addiction and other important issues surrounding marijuana.
He added that the business intends to develop a 60,000 square foot grow, processing, retail, testing and transport site off of La Plaisance Road in the near future, which Carter said would bring more than 50 jobs to the community.
Location: 14733 S. Telegraph Rd.
Operated by: Monroe Township resident Antonio (Tony) Cusumano, owner and operator of Giuseppe’s Pizzeria; Harrison Carter of Monroe and Ermal Mandija of Troy
Business started: Dec. 3, 2021
Services: Specializes in medical and recreational cannabis, accessories, and apparel. Customers must have valid identification and a medical marijuana card to purchase medical cannabis. To purchase recreational marijuana, customers must be 21 or older and have valid identification. Out-of-state patients are accepted after identification has been verified
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sundays
Web site: https://www.glassjar.com
The following marijuana businesses in Monroe Township will be opening soon:
- Lume at the former Dena’s Restaurant, S. Monroe and Dunbar
- Baj Management growing operation at the former Manufacturer’s Marketplace Mall on LaPlaisance Rd. No sales.
- Fire Farms at the former China Express on S. Monroe St.
- Mint Cannabis on S. Telegraph Rd. at W. Seventh St.
- Quality Roots, 1231 S. Monroe St., formerly a white vacant building across the street from Michigan Bar and Grill
- Urb Cannabis at the former Burger King building on LaPlaisance.