High Level Health, the Vassar area’s third medical-marijuana store, opened Nov. 1, though several other entrepreneurs could open medical-marijuana stores in town.
Step inside High Level Health at 327 S. Main St., and the visitor views a lobby of rich décor, with a lustrous green floor and walls, doors and ceiling fashioned from rustic boards or logs. The ambience resembles that of a new brewpub or trendy eatery.
Renovations to the interior occurred months ago in Vassar, population 2,562, with residents wondering if – and when – a marijuana business would open there.
Employees at High Level Health allowed an Advertiser photographer to shoot photos of the store’s lobby on Thursday, but declined comment. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
High Level Health, operating marijuana stores in Colorado and Michigan, opened a medical-marijuana store in May near East Tawas in Iosco County, later opening a medical-marijuana store near Omer. The Vassar medical-marijuana provisioning center is High Level Health’s third Michigan store.
Medical-marijuana provisioning centers, or stores, are allowed in Michigan under a 2016 state law. In order to buy medical marijuana in Michigan, a person must obtain a patient registry identification card. Medical conditions qualifying an individual for a card include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, arthritis, autism and others.
Retailers selling marijuana for recreational purposes also will be allowed in Michigan – in municipalities that don’t ban them – following voter approval of a state proposal in 2018.
Vassar City Council members on Monday capped the number of recreational-marijuana stores at six, and will allow one recreational-marijuana microbusiness, which would be similar to a microbrewery, though the city doesn’t allow marijuana to be consumed in any business.
The cap, however, doesn’t apply to medical-marijuana stores, according to Ben Guile, interim city manager and Vassar’s police chief.
While two medical-marijuana stores – High Level Health and The Station Provisioning Center – operate in the city of Vassar, a third medical-marijuana store, Elite Wellness, operates just outside the city along M-15 in Vassar Township.
And two other applications have been submitted for medical-marijuana stores in the city, with another application “pending,” according to Guile.
While Vassar has capped the number of recreational-marijuana retailers and will allow only one recreational-marijuana microbusiness, the city hasn’t limited the number of recreational-marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters or safety-compliance facilities.
Nor has it limited the number of medical-marijuana stores, growers, processors, secure transporters or safety-compliance facilities.
Mark Bills, general manager of The Station Provisioning Center, praised Guile and council members at their Monday meeting.
“We definitely thank all of you, all of law enforcement and all the community for being so open and welcoming,” Bills said.
“Thanks back at you,” replied council member Pat Mecham. “I know you’ve been involved with the community, and we appreciate that as well.”
Tom Gilchrist is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.