MI: Hidden In Plain Sight: Inside Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Washtenaw County

Photo Credit: Lisa Barry

There is traditional medicine, and there is the growing field of medical marijuana.  Although illegal on the federal level, Michigan is one of a number of states that has legalized marijuana for medical use.

With nearly two dozen medical marijuana facilities in Washtenaw County, you have likely walked past several in your community and not even realized what it is.

89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry takes you inside several local provisioning centers as part of our “Hidden In Plain Sight” series…

Patients must have a medical marijuana card given to them by a licensed doctor and be registered with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program before purchasing anything from the wide variety of medical marijuana dispensaries around Washtenaw County.

Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008, but cannabis, as many in the medical marijuana field prefer to call it, remains illegal at the federal level by way of the Controlled Substances Act.

On the west side of Ann Arbor is the People’s Choice Alternative Medicine Marijuana Dispensary.  Manager Michael Olszewski walks through the “service floor” at the dispensary and opens a jar from one of several shelves stocked with an assortment of marijuana flowers buds, including one called “pineapple shortcake.”

In a back room at Arbors Wellness, manager “Sam” is using a food processor to reduce the size of the marijuana buds to be used in a pre-roll format to be sold to patients.

Medical marijuana is not just for smoking!  It comes in many forms.  Michael Olszewski explains they have a wide assortment of medical marijuana candies at the People’s Choice Dispensary.

Owners and managers at the dispensaries visited for this story took the business of medical marijuana very seriously.  Jaime Lowell is one of the owners of Third Coast Compassion Center in Ypsilanti.  He called calls cannabis “medicine” and refers to his customers as “patients,” and he believes medical marijuana is a “holistic practice.”

Chronic pain is the most common complaint heard in the medical marijuana community.  Cards are typically granted to people with cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis, Crohn’s disease, and other problems.

The owner of the People’s Choice Dispensary in Ann Arbor, Darryl Mynes, says people owe it to themselves to research the benefits of medical marijuana.

He says the country of Israel has become an international leader in cannabis research for medical use.

Perhaps you are among the 2.5 percent of Washtenaw County residents who have a medical marijuana card or never realized what was going on inside –when you passed a dispensary… hidden in plain sight.