MANISTEE — A neighboring marijuana business is planning to expand and open its doors as a storefront for both recreational and medical marijuana in Manistee this summer.
Great Lakes Natural Remedies, Inc. had been selling medical use at its provision center in Benzonia and recently started selling recreational marijuana, which is called adult-use, by the state.
Trevor Wisniewski, president of Great Lakes Natural Remedies, said he is planning to open a cannabis store that would sell both adult-use and medical cannabis at 240 Arthur St.
“We are finalizing the architectural drawings. So, we’re hoping that we’ll be open this summer,” Wisniewski said. “We are state licensed. We have (had) cannabis facilities open over a year. We currently have five active state licenses and we have (what) I think Manistee calls recreational, but we do have the adult-use license and the medical license for our cannabis store in Manistee.”
According to the Manistee City Clerk’s office, Great Lakes Natural Remedies was approved for a provisional permit and upon issuance of its state operating license, once a copy is submitted to the city, it will then issue a final permit in the process.
“We just need to build it out and then the state comes and inspects it after that, which we’re accustomed to,” he explained. “We’re vertically integrated right now where we have cannabis grows, a cannabis extraction lab and a cannabis store, so we’ve been involved in every level of having to build something out that can be (done).”
Great Lakes Natural Remedies started in 2017 and is based in Saginaw.
Wisniewski said the company also owns two industrial lots near the location where he plans to put a cannabis grow operation and processing facility.
“We would be cultivating there, processing there more for our store and for other cannabis stores that become active in Manistee,” he said.
CONNECTIONS TO MANISTEE COUNTY
He said he has special ties with the region angling for trout, salmon and other river fishing opportunities.
“I grew up coming up to the area fishing on the (Big) Manistee and the Little Manistee Rivers and also up by Benzonia where the Betsie and Platte (rivers) are,” Wisniewski said. “Twenty years ago, I bought a cottage in Wellston so my family could come up there and we could vacation in the area. I’ve always been a fan of Manistee. I’ve always thought it’s a hidden gem.”
Wisniewski said Great Lakes Natural Remedies partnered with the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA).
“Our cannabis store that’s up in Benzonia, we give a portion of our proceeds from our store to the CRA for the Betsie River watershed improvements,” he said. “And for our Manistee properties, we are going to be giving a portion of our proceeds to the CRA to benefit the Manistee rivershed.”
Wisniewski said a large portion of tourism money comes from fisheries.
“Everything to do on that Manistee River is a big draw,” he said. “We know that that rivershed is very important for tourism dollars for Manistee’s community and that’s one of the big reasons to give back, and it’s also an environmental thing that Sarah (Foss) and I care about.”
He said the storefront would also help the Manistee community by bringing at least 10 jobs for the store and 10 jobs for the grow and processing side. He said the area will also benefit from tax revenue collection.
Sarah Foss, chief sales and marketing officer for Great Lakes Natural Remedies, said part of the company’s mission statement emphasizes the customers and patients using cannabis.
“We believe that the cannabis plant has a human aspect to it and it improves peoples’ quality of life for the better when used properly and when the consumer is educated and knows how to dose themself and how to use the plant in its best ways,” Foss said. “We personally vet all products that end up on our shelf. We wouldn’t carry anything on our shelves that we wouldn’t use personally or that we don’t believe in.”
Foss said Great Lakes Natural Remedies plans to carry full spectrum products that haven’t been distilled or refined.
“Nature is pretty perfect naturally, so we don’t want to adulterate that. So, a lot of our products have all (of) what are called cannabinoids and terpenes in there — which are like the aromatherapy and chemical compounds of the plant where the medicinal benefit comes in,” she said. “We do see even when people are buying on the adult-use side are using it to help with some issue whether it’s destressing at the end of the day, insomnia, general aches and pains.”
Foss said she hopes to break stigmas that exist around people who use cannabis by having more educational conversations about the benefits.
“I’ve seen cannabis help people get off some of the drugs that they were on,” she said. “(Some people) may want an alternative in their lives to prescriptions or alcohol or whatever it is they are looking for whether it be antistress, or sleep or pain from sitting hunched over a desk all day.”
She said the storefront will carry its own in house line of flower, as well as extracts and edibles. Foss said the store would also have topicals, lotions, Rick Simpson Oil, vape pens, concentrates and other products.
She said the store will also be designed in a way that blends in with the Manistee community.
“There are a lot of companies in the nation that try to do a Starbucks/cookie-cutter model where each location looks very similar. We’re a little bit different, we do care about each community and we do try to cater our brand to each community,” Foss said. “So something that would work in Detroit, we don’t think that would work up here. … In Benzonia, since this is a big fishing, hunting, outdoorsy, Up North community — we’ve made it very rustic, comfortable, a lot of woods, metals (and) it feels like something that’s part of the community.”
She said Manistee would be a similar design.
“People can walk in in their fishing waders and not feel out of place,” Foss said.
On its website, the company also lists other upcoming locations in places like Muskegon and Battle Creek.
Additional information on the Great lakes Natural Remedies can be found online at myglnr.com.