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cannabis seeds in the upper peninsula

After nearly two years, recreational marijuana industry still growing in Greater Lansing

For Jennifer Smith-Zande, the beginning days of recreational marijuana in Lansing consisted of many applications, some of which led to lawsuits for which there were no precedents for decisions.

“It was a new industry, so everybody was making their way through it,” said Smith-Zande, marijuana operations licensing clerk in the Lansing City Clerk’s office. “Nobody had a guideline, and of course, the people who were denied the provisioning centers were going to go as far as they could go to try and win.”

Several years later, the status of Greater Lansing’s recreational marijuana industry is more clear.

Four local governments across the region did not opt out of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act: Lansing and East Lansing in Ingham County, Windsor Charter Township in Eaton County, and DeWitt Charter Township in Clinton County. Not opting out means they allow at least some categories of recreational marijuana-related businesses to operate within their boundaries.

Several more localities have opted in solely for medical cannabis businesses under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. So far, these include Lansing Charter Township, Meridian Township, Leslie and the Village of Webberville in Ingham County. Bath Township in Clinton County unanimously passed an ordinance to authorize medical cannabis facilities in September 2019, but its name has not yet been added to the document.

According to Marijuana Regulatory Agency data, Lansing has the most total adult-use marijuana business licenses of any municipality in the state. Detroit has more medical marijuana facility licenses but does not have any recreational facilities yet due to a federal judge halting the city’s ordinance that incentivized licenses for longtime city residents and people with previous drug charges.

Lansing has given out “close to 75” grower licenses, City Clerk Chris Swope said — although the City Council has since lowered the city’s cap to 55 so that number will decrease over time through attrition. The city is currently maxed out at its cap of 28 total retailers. Lansing set no limit on the number of safety compliance or secure transport facilities.

Lansing also permits up to four microbusinesses and four social clubs — one located in each ward. A microbusiness is a small-scale enterprise that can grow up to 150 marijuana plants, process them on-site and sell them directly to customers — sort of like a microbrewery for weed. A social club is an establishment where people 21 or older can gather to use marijuana.

No microbusinesses or social clubs are currently in operation in Lansing, Smith-Zande said.

East Lansing does not have any cap on growing, processing, retailers, safety or transport facilities, although facility types are limited to specific zoning districts. The city has opted out of microbusinesses and social clubs.

Municipalities receive tax payments from recreational marijuana sales at retailers and microbusinesses. Earlier this year, Lansing, East Lansing and Ingham County collectively received about $588,000 in revenue from legal sales of marijuana. That included about $280,000 for Lansing, $28,000 for East Lansing and $308,000 for the county.

In addition to financial dividends, in some cases, the marijuana businesses have revitalized previously run-down buildings, Swope said.

“A lot of them have improved some really formerly unsightly buildings across the city of Lansing,” Swope said.

Simultaneously emerging is a saturation of facilities in certain wards. According to the city’s marijuana facilities map, Lansing’s 1st Ward has the most licensed marijuana facilities at 26. The 4th Ward has 16 facilities, while the 2nd Ward has 13.

Currently Lansing’s 3rd Ward — comprising the southwest portion of the city — does not have any type of active and licensed marijuana facility. However, Smith-Zande said a medical provisioning center and a microbusiness are scheduled to open soon.

Marijuana businesses also have expanded outside of Lansing and East Lansing to neighboring communities.

Both Windsor Charter Township and DeWitt Charter Township amended ordinances to allow businesses that grow, process, test and transport recreational marijuana, while opting out of retailers, microbusinesses and social clubs. In DeWitt Township, those businesses are only allowed in limited locations.

Meridian Township will put recreational marijuana to a vote in 2022, after the township’s Board of Trustees voted in August to delay a ballot measure. The decision was made in accordance with a 13th Circuit Court ruling about a similar election in Grand Traverse County, which ruled against holding a ballot initiative as a special election.

There were no other planned elections in the township this November, which would have made the ballot initiative a special election, said Meridian Township Clerk Deborah Guthrie.

“We had received communication from Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum that it would need to go before the voters at the next regular election,” Guthrie said. “That makes the primary in August the next regular.”

Windsor Charter Township has allowed medical marijuana growing operations since June 2017, and the township voted to allow businesses that grow, process and transport recreational marijuana in February 2020. DeWitt Charter Township followed suit earlier this year, approving an amendment to allow the businesses in certain sections of the township.

In addition, developers in Bath Township are aiming to open the township’s first medical cannabis retail, processing and grow facility next spring. The growing facility and the processing facility were allowed under special-use rules but the township had to approve the “one-off” provisioning center for the project.

Marijuana companies are already taking the opportunity to expand operations.

Skymint Brands received unanimous approval from the Windsor Township board in January for a special use permit for the site of the former Summit Sports and Ice Complex, which closed permanently in February after being shuttered by the pandemic.

According to a company spokesperson, Skymint employs nearly 300 people in the Lansing area, with those jobs spread across cultivation, production, packaging, retail, facilities maintenance and security. The Summit site will add “several hundred” more jobs, said Jason Desentz, the company’s chief people officer.

Skymint officials selected the 146,000 square-foot site on Davis Highway because of its size, location, and attributes, Chief Strategy Officer Matt Gavigan said in an email. He said the facility will allow Skymint to expand operations in Greater Lansing — where it also runs three dispensaries and two cultivation facilities — as well as across the state.

“(It) allows us to substantially increase our output, centralize processing, packaging and distribution to supply our Skymint retail locations and wholesale customers in Michigan,” Gavigan said.

He said there are no immediate plans for further growth within Greater Lansing, but company officials “could potentially look to add additional retail stores.”

Cannabis seeds in the upper peninsula

This exciting new cannabis degree program launched in Fall 2019 equips you with the knowledge necessary to gain employment in emergent cannabis markets – specifically within the scientific community. Combining a mix of core curriculum chemistry with cutting-edge cannabis courses, (such as Cannabis Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, and Cannabis Separations) you’ll gain a truly unique career-focused education. Cannabis Chemistry graduates earn over 600 hours of experience in state-of-the-art instrumentation laboratories and industry standard techniques, giving them the required proficiency to work in law enforcement, public health and safety, regulatory management, and business applications.

Program Goals
  • Provide students with a solid foundation of chemistry courses including organic chemistry, instrumental analysis, and biochemistry
  • Allow students to develop techniques in cannabis extraction and separation
  • Build a base of chemistry knowledge with applications in the quantitative analysis of cannabis related compounds and contaminants
  • Equip graduates with the skills necessary to gain employment in emerging cannabis markets of law enforcement laboratory scientist, public health and safety, regulatory management, and business applications

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

B.S. Cannabis Chemistry

Chemistry and Cannabis Courses (51 credits)

CHEM 115 General Chemistry I (5)
CHEM 116 General Chemistry II (5)
CCHM 120 Cannabis Chemistry (1)
CHEM 225 Organic Chemistry I (4)
CHEM 231 Quantitative Analysis (4)
CCHM 240 Cannabis Plant Sample Prep (2)
CCHM 245 Cannabis Chemistry II (1)
CHEM 310 Applied Spectroscopy (4)
CHEM 326 Organic Chemistry II (4)
CHEM 332 Instrumental Analysis (4)
CCHM 350 Cannabis Chemistry III (1)
CHEM 351 Introductory Biochemistry (4)
CHEM 353 Introductory Toxicology (3)
CHEM 355 Medicinal Chemistry (3)
CHEM 395 Junior Seminar (1)
CCHM 440 Cannabis Separations Chemistry (4)
CHEM 499 Senior Seminar (1)

Biology Courses (15 credits)
BIOL 131 General Biology: Cells (4)
BIOL 132 General Biology: Organisms (4)
BIOL 204 Intro to Microbiology (4)
BIOL 235 Intro to Protected Horticulture (3)

Support Courses (10 credits)
USEM 101 University Seminar (1)
MATH 111 College Algebra (3)
BUSN 211 Business Statistics (3) -OR- MATH 207 Principals of Statistical Methods (3)
ECON 202 Principals of Microeconomics (3)

Free Electives (23 credits)

General Education (34-36 credits)
Complete the General Education Requirements

A minimum of 124 credits (at the 100 level or higher) must be earned for graduation with a cumulative gpa of 2.50 or higher. A gpa of 2.50 or higher is also required in your Major, and a gpa of 2.00 is required in your General Education Requirements.

Associate Degree Requirements

Associate Cannabis Science

Chemistry (26 credits>
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I (5)
CHEM 116 General Chemistry II (5)
CCHM120 Cannabis Chemistry (1)
CHEM 208 Survey Organic Chem (4)
CHEM 231 Quantitative Analysis (4)
CCHM 240 Cannabis Plant Sample Prep (2)
CCHM 245 Cannabis Chemistry II (1)
CHEM 332 Instrumental Analysis (4)

Support Courses (7 credits)
USEM 101 University Seminar (1)
MATH 111 College Algebra (3)
BUSN 211 Business Statistics (3) -OR- MATH 207 Principals of Statistical Methods (3)

Biology Courses (15 credits)
BIOL 131 General Biology: Cells (4)
BIOL 132 General Biology: Organisms (4)
BIOL 204 Intro to Microbiology (4)
BIOL 235 Intro to Protected Horticulture (3)

General Education (9 credits)
ENGL 110 First-Year Composition I (3)
ENGL 111 First-Year Composition II (3)
COMM 101 Speech (3)

Free electives (5 credits)

General Education (24 credits)
Complete the General Education Requirements

A minimum of 62 credits (at the 100 level or higher) must be earned for graduation with a cumulative gpa of 2.00 or higher. A gpa of 2.00 or higher is also required in your Major, as well as in your General Education Requirements.

Cannabis Production Certificate

Certificate Cannabis Production

Chemistry Courses (9 credits)

CHEM 108 Applied Chemistry (3)
CHEM 109 Applied Chemistry Lab (1)
CCHM 120 Cannabis Chemistry (1)
CCHM 240 Cannabis Plant Sample Prep (2)
CCHM 245 Cannabis Chemistry II (1)
CCHM 250 Cannabis Production (1)

Business Requirements (3 credits)

CBUS 122 Survey of Cannabis Business (2)
CBUS 360 Cannabis Law and Policy (1)

A minimum of 12 credits must be earned for graduation with a cumulative gpa of 2.00 or higher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a real chemistry degree?

Yes! Both the Bachelor’s and Associate degrees convey a solid foundation in chemistry, including organic chemistry, instrumental analysis, and biochemistry. Graduates will gain skills – often to develop new techniques – that set benchmarks of safety, testing, production, and quality control. LSSU has approval from the American Chemical Society (ACS) to certify graduates who meet the minimum standards set forth by the Committee on Professional Training.

Will students use real cannabis buds?

Yes, students need to have real-world experience working with state-of-the-art chemical instructions doing analysis on real compounds. This is in contrast to programs that only use plant surrogates.

Are students growing plants?

No, this program concentrates on the chemistry of cannabis and the use of chemical analysis as a tool for health & safety, regulation and law enforcement.

Are there jobs?

Yes! The cannabis field is set to out-pace both healthcare and technology jobs, with projected growth at 22% annually. Not only will you have a chemistry degree (LSSU graduates have nearly 100% placement), you will also have the education and training to work in a new and quickly expanding field.

Is this legal?

Yes! LSSU will remain fully compliant with all legal requirements for the limited use of regulated materials in an educational setting – including approvals from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

Can I transfer into this program?

Do I have to be a Michigan resident to enroll in this program?

No. In fact, LSSU offers in-state tuition to everyone!

Are there any special requirements for this degree?

Yes, in compliance with Federal regulations, state and local laws, students may need to submit to a background check in order to participate in the program and participate in courses that handle regulated materials.

Cannabis Center of Excellence

Within our multi-million dollar laboratories, you’ll acquire practical experience in prepping and testing complex plant material for contaminants by utilizing the latest chemical instrumentation such as: