News and nuggets for cannabis industry practitioners in the Midwest and beyond.

City council for southeast Michigan town ponders public pot festival

Celebrations for tomorrow’s 420 stoner holiday tomorrow will be virtual and muted as public gatherings revolving around deep inhaling and exhaling are not yet appropriate for post-pandemic societies. 

At least one Michigan town is open to rescheduled revelry this summer, however, as the Niles City Council this week convened via Zoom this week to discuss a two-day music festival where licensed retailers would sell cannabis onsite for public consumption.

Located in the southwestern corner of the state about 100 miles from Chicago, Niles has the chance to be “the Woodstock of Michigan”, says promoter Germaine Redding. 

The council meeting finished without the organizers receiving a green light, and it is unlikely that the aggressive July timeline won’t be met. However, there remains a chance for a stoney sanctioned celebration in September. The event organizers are also planning a 420 Cannabis Music Festival in Lansing for August 13. While cannabis won’t be sold legally at that festival, attendees will have the novel opportunity to publicly imbibe on a product that is no longer against the law for adults to consume recreationally. 

Ascend brings Lowell Smokes pre-rolls to Illinois

Boston-based Ascend Wellness Holdings, which operates cultivation facilities and ten dispensaries in Illinois, entered a partnership with Salinas, Calif.-based Lowell Farms to sell the company’s Lowell Smokes pre-roll products to its Illinois and Massachusetts facilities.  

According to a press release, “the agreement marks another step towards AWH’s goal of bringing iconic West Coast brands to its markets.”

Ascend entered the Illinois medical market through multiple acquisitions, acquiring four Chicago-area and previously independently-owned dispensaries for approximately $25 million in cash and stock each over the last year. The company, which filed on March 30 to raise $125 million in a public offering, in 2018 acquired a Barry cultivation facility and six dispensaries from original Illinois medical marijuana operator Springfield-based HCI Alternatives. 

Missouri gets its 18th cultivation facility

Vertical Enterprise, a vertically integrated cannabis company in St. Joseph, Missouri, announced state approval last week for their 64,000 square foot cultivation and manufacturing facilities to start operations. This would make Vertical the 18th cultivation facility to begin growing in Missouri. 

“It’s so great to finally be able to do what we’ve been planning to do for such a long time. We have the chance to prove to Missouri that we’re going to deliver the highest quality products for this market,” said company co-founder and CEO Chris McHugh in a press release.

“The production facility will house 30,000 square feet of flowering canopy when buildout is complete, but is prepared to move in and begin to cultivate in the first two bloom rooms, a total of 10,000 square feet of flowering canopy,” says the release.

Sixty Missouri cultivation licences were distributed in January 2020 with a legal mandate to begin operations within a year. Medical marijuana program director Lyndall Fraker told Grown In last month that state regulators would extend operation deadlines to June 2021.

Vertical also obtained a dispensary license for St. Joseph, with a plan to begin sales later this summer, once flower from their grow facility is available.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.