The South Bend Tribune took a deep dive into one of the biggest success stories of Michigan’s cannabis legalization – the marijuana boom bringing jobs & new life to factories & storefronts in southwest Michigan:
City leaders say the cannabis industry has packed more than a decade’s worth of redevelopment into the span of a few years, and they’re looking at the prospect of even more projects in the coming year.
The total investment in buildings and equipment in Niles and Buchanan already exceeds $50 million in the past two years, and the cities say they’ve gained about 250 new jobs each.
So far, there are nine provisioning centers in Niles, Buchanan and Edwardsburg, with more on the way, including boutique shops called micro-businesses.
And at last count, there were more 10 growing operations in Niles, Buchanan, Benton Harbor, Eau Claire and Galien Township — with, again, more coming.
Besides the willingness of local officials to consider marijuana businesses, investors have been drawn to the area because of the availability of empty buildings — largely with the proper commercial and industrial zoning — that can be converted into dispensaries or facilities to grow, process and pack cannabis.
In Niles, cannabis growers and processors are moving into the old Simplicity plant on Wayne Street and additional buildings closer to Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport. In Buchanan, Redbud Roots already has filled a few buildings in the Post Road industrial corridor.
And while some have been looking for old industrial buildings, others have been drawn to the abandoned storefronts in Niles and Buchanan to convert them into medical and adult-use dispensaries, offering convenience for customers from Indiana and other locations.
Michigan 51, or South 11th Street, has become a go-to location for dispensaries in Niles, with Green Stem already open, Primitiv preparing to open just down the road and Regional Roots hoping to open a micro-business later this year.
ReLeaf Center for Compassionate Care, which has concentrated most of its Niles operations at an industrial park on the north side of the city, has settled on a location for a designated consumption area on the South 11th Street corridor.
Meanwhile in Buchanan, dispensaries have largely located in the downtown area along Front Street, revitalizing several buildings in the city’s core and creating hope among city leaders that more restaurants and amenities will follow.