The Bay Mills Indian Community is slated to open Michigan’s first Tribally owned marijuana market later this fall. An all-in-one business, Northern Lights Cannabis Company will grow, process, test and sell recreational cannabis products from its campus on the upper peninsula of Michigan.
The Tribe’s initial investment is $1 million for the dispensary and growing operations. (The dispensary will start by purchasing product from the Michigan market, in advance of growing and processing its own crop.) Over the course of the next year, an additional $2-3 million will be funneled to expand growing, while adding capabilities to test and process cannabis on-site.
“Northern Light Cannabis Co. will be the first Tribally owned cannabis company in Michigan,” Bryan Newland, Bay Mills Tribal Chairman, told Bay Mills News. “We are excited about what this means for economic development and job opportunities in Bay Mills. Community-owned and community-grown will be the focus of our operation.”
The 100% Tribally owned venture will be a key source for job creation and economic development. Between the grow operation and dispensary, an estimated 15-20 jobs need to be filled immediately.
Pandemic precautions entail curbside service. Down the road, the Tribe aims to open a tasting room, social club, and to host destination cannabis events.
The Community plans to start growing cannabis in early 2021, with home-grown products ready to retail sometime next year. “I can’t speak to whether we will have delivery services available,” Newland told The Sault News. “The Tribe is licensing, regulating, and operating Northern Light Cannabis Co. on our reservation under Tribal law. We are going to focus our initial activities on our own lands.”
The Bay Mills Indian Community has blazed trails for numerous firsts in Indian Country.
“Whether it is treaty fishing rights, gaming, charter schools, health care, and internet gaming, Bay Mills has a long history of being ‘first’ in Indian country,” he told The Sault News. “Paving the way for others is something we pride ourselves on, and our people expect the Tribe to take risks to make life better for us.”
Northern Light Cannabis Co. is yet another example of the way Bay Mills diversifies and innovates for the greater good of its Tribal and the neighboring communities. “One of the biggest benefits is that it offers a new field for employment,” Newland continued. “We want our people to have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives here in our community, and that requires having the opportunity to work in a career that is exciting and fulfilling. The more opportunities we can create, the better off we will be as a Tribe for coming generations.”