Escanaba’s first retail marijuana store opens on tribal land

From left, Lume Cannabis Co. Manager Scott Thorman and employee Katharina Scholer process orders at the store’s Escanaba grand opening Friday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Caroline Carlson)

ESCANABA — Lume Cannabis Co. opened its doors Friday morning to lines of cars and people on foot, stretching across the parking lot.

Retail Compliance Manager and Launch Team Leader Joseph Stankowski said the company anticipates a very successful launch, like their previous store launch in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Sault Saint Marie almost two weeks ago. That opening brought in almost 300 sales over the course of 8 hours.

The first 100 customers at Friday’s launch in Escanaba received a free swag bag containing items like t-shirts, Koozies, lanyards, Pop Sockets and batteries.

Despite state legalization of cannabis, municipalities are allowed to “opt out” of legalizing the sale of marijuana products. Retail sales and grow operations in Michigan can’t be located in municipalities that have chosen to opt-out. At present, the Escanaba City Council has “temporarily” opted out of the law. Marijuana sales will, however, become legal if the ban is not reinstated in Sept. 2022, sparking much debate on the topic among residents at city council meetings.

The current ban is not the first ban instated by the city and due to the repeated temporary bans, Lume’s new store is located at 3405 Spruce Street on land owned by the Sault Tribe. Stankowski said the company respects the municipality’s right to make the decision on banning the sale of cannabis products. He added that with a population of almost 15,000 people, Lume saw a demand in Escanaba, and the tribe offered to work with them on a location.

“The tribal community is more open — there’s a willingness to trust a company like this,” said Stankowski.

Locating the new store on the land of the Sault Tribe renders it exempt from the city’s rules. The tribe’s official website states that four more stores are planned on tribal land over the next two years.

Stankowski said the community benefits as well as the company, due to the creation of jobs. He emphasized the company’s mission is to do things the right way and deliver a high-quality product with an excellent customer experience.

“The feedback has been great,” Stankowski said.

Lume selects its store locations based on numerous factors, such as population density, tourism, median income, and medical marijuana cards per capita. The company has a real estate team that helps the company identify promising locations. Thus far, Lume has launched 15 stores across the state.

The new store hosts an array of products that can be purchased a number of ways. In-store customers can consult with the store’s “Luminaries” about the effects of different cannabis strains. Products can also be bought online for pick-up in-person or curb-side. Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency has given all cannabis retailers permission to conduct curbside sales as part of COVID-19 social distancing measures.

Stankowski said home delivery will also soon be available.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. The adult-use facility requires customers to be at least 21-years of age. While recreational marijuana use is legal for those over the age of 21 across the state, public consumption of the drug remains strictly illegal, as does driving under the influence of cannabis.

When asked about company rules on the use of their products, Stankowski said Lume has a zero-tolerance drug policy.


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