Michigan Marijuana Industrial Park Sells Out 63 Acres

Photo Credit: Seth Perlman

A marijuana industrial park in Windsor Township, Mich. has sold out of all 10 lots of its first phase of development, totaling 63 acres.

Harvest Park, a planned 130-acre development that will house state-licensed medical cannabis businesses, announced that the adjacent 67 acres are now on sale as part of its second phase.

“Phase One sold out quickly,” Harvest Park managing director Jeff Donahue said in a statement. “We expected to open Phase Two sometime within the second quarter of 2018, and the response has far exceeded our expectations.”

The company bills itself as the largest medical marijuana development east of the Mississippi and says it will create as many as 1,000 new jobs when the fully developed. The township of Windsor, with a population of less than 7,000, is doling out 138 medical marijuana licenses for cultivation, processing, transportation and lab testing.

Harvest Park is partnering with local utility company Lansing Board of Water & Light to supply water and electricity to the facility. Cannabis is a notoriously energy-intensive crop – one study found that indoor marijuana cultivation operations produce the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as three million cars a year.

The utility company will supply some of the energy for the park with two nearby solar installations.

Michigan has one of the largest medical marijuana programs in the country with a patient count that’s approaching 300,000. Compare that to New York, which has a population twice that of Michigan’s but only about 42,000 patients. Michigan’s medical marijuana program’s patient enrollment is only second to the behemoth of California’s medical cannabis program.

But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for cannabis businesses in the state. Michigan voters approved a medical marijuana ballot measure in 2008, setting up a system for registering patients and caregivers. But the medical cannabis industry was largely unregulated at the state level. In 2016, the legislature passed three bills to develop a regulatory regime to license cannabis businesses, and the state started accepting license applications in December 2017.

Amid the transition out of the unregulated market, police stepped up their raids on cannabis businesses – even ones with permission from their local city councils. Conflicting messages from state and local officials sowed confusion for businesses that were trying to play by the book.

Meanwhile, the movement to legalize recreational marijuana in the state is gathering steam. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has submitted 365,000 signatures to qualify for a ballot petition, and is waiting for the state to certify at least 252,523 as valid. Nearly 57% of Michigan voters support marijuana legalization, according to a recent poll.

With the medical marijuana industry coming out of the shadows and good chances for adult-use legalization this year, Harvest Park and Windsor Township are poised to become an epicenter of sorts for the industry.