Are you canna-curious?

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    Cannabis leaf, medicinal hemp. Adobe stick image

    You’ve heard recreational cannabis is legal in Michigan, but maybe it’s been a while since you experimented with the jazz cabbage? Your college days are behind you. Kids, professional life, and adulting have meant time off from the alligator cigarettes. Still, you have a nagging desire to see what all this talk about ‘Dank Sinatra’ is about.

    If “Reefer Madness” and years of prohibition have made you a little wary of the devil’s lettuce, but legalization has reawakened your interest in the India hay, read on.

    If you’ve wanted to try out the stickiest of the icky, but just don’t know where to legally buy the giggle grass, or you’d like to say hello to Merry Jane but aren’t sure at what provisioning center you’d feel most comfortable, this guide is here to help.

    So, dear reader, let’s satisfy that latent, lingering desire for the dank cheeba, and say, “Yes We Cannabis!”

    If it’s been a while, and you’re not sure what to bring, be sure you have your updated ID with you, as you can expect every dispensary will require it to tour their shops.

    Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is one man’s guide for the canna curious, offering some direction to provisioning centers conveniently located close to where you reside, no matter if you live on the north, east, south or west side of Grand Rapids.

    Photo by Tylee Shay

    Olswell
    Located at 1940 28th St. SE, Olswell is situated at the entrance of a residential neighborhood in what was formerly a doctor’s office. The building has since been updated with a sleek, modern look. A black brick exterior carries over into a clean, well-lit interior. Set just far enough back from nearby 28th street, the location feels very private, and quiet. The building’s resemblance to a townhome distinguishes Olswell from other retail provisioning centers.

    The herbal coaches at Olswell seemed very knowledgeable and are required to take classes and be trained on the health aspects, various components of cannabis (e.g., CBD, CBG, terpenes, THC, etc.), differences in manufacture, absorption and more. The overall ambience of the experience felt more customer focused than transaction focused.

    My friend, who has rarely tried cannabis, appreciated the recommendations and generous amount of time the herbal coaches spent with us in explaining different products, and identifying low dose edibles for her.

    While I’ve found most pricing to be somewhat comparable from shop to shop, you’ll find plentiful discounts, and deals available at Olswell. Products range from vapes, edibles, to flower, tinctures and topicals. You can also pick up items designed to help your pet.

    If you’re not familiar with all the new products coming to the cannabis space, want to support local businesses, or are well versed in the sin spinach, but looking for a consult on something specific, give Olswell, on 28th St. a try.

    Photo by Tylee Shay

    Pharmhouse Wellness
    Pharmhouse Wellness boasts that they are the only 100% locally owned and operated cannabis dispensary in Grand Rapids. If you live closer to the southeast side, this is the provisioning center for you. The budtenders are knowledgeable, eager to make recommendations and reflect the kind of personal touch found when shopping at a small business.

    The Pharmhouse building is distinguished by an atypical exterior, not resembling a retail storefront in the slightest. Originally a private residence on a residential street, there is no buzzing security door upon entry. Art covers the walls and there’s a “no pressure” atmosphere.

    Customers are welcome to check out the intimate display area inside, but many choose to order online and wait outside for a budtender to deliver their order, or answer questions. There’s not a lot of space inside, so consulting with a friendly budtender from your car, or ordering online for curbside pick-up are good options.

    If you’re apprehensive about showing your face at a provisioning center, it’s okay. Years of being threatened with arrest over Beelzebub’s Bok choy will do that. Curbside delivery might be a good option for you.

    Selections at Pharmhouse are carefully curated, rather than bought in bulk, which allows the dispensary to offer high dose products at an affordable price.  According to Pharmhouse staff, “as a former caregiver, and believer in the medicinal use of cannabis, our owner is very aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis and offers discounts for medical cannabis card holders.” Pharmhouse is one of the few dispensaries who continue to hold a medical cannabis license and offer delivery for medical card holders.

    When asked what makes Pharmhouse different, the budtender explained, “Pharmhouse’s community involvement, product offerings, and attention to the needs of individual customers, set us apart from larger dispensaries who may not focus so much on those things.”

    Nature’s ReLeaf
    If you live on the northwest side, Nature’s ReLeaf, located on Leonard next to Shakedown Street, might be a good place to check out. Nature ReLeaf’s storefront brings an updated, trendy appeal to the neighborhood, and its location next to Shakedown Street fits right in. The storefront looks like a modern retail facility, however it is a family-owned dispensary.

    Justin, a budtender at ReLeaf, explained how staff “takes pride in taking as much time as necessary to help customers individually.”

    This provisioning center feels very secure. Customers present their ID through bullet proof glass to an associate and are then permitted to enter the interior retail space accessed through a secure door.

    My friend who is a very infrequent cannabis user, was impressed by our budtender’s knowledge in explaining different products, their effects, what to try, and what to watch out for. She appreciated his recommendation in suggesting a low dose edible with a mixture of CBD and THC, and if concerned with being “too high” (as can happen with some edibles) taking CBD, which lessens the effects of the THC.

    The atmosphere was relaxed, and the retail area intimate, with vapes, edibles and flower available at comparable to competitive rates.

    If you find yourself on the northwest side and want to check out the funky fern, ReLeaf might be the right option for you.

    Skymint
    Located on Division Ave. just south of 28th St., Skymint is the largest dispensary business in Michigan, with 24 locations throughout the state. Skymint offers the typical features one would expect from a retail dispensary, where IDs are checked, followed by entry to the shopping area where products are displayed.

    Skymint’s approach differs from other provisioning centers in a few ways. The retail area is very well thought out and has the feel of a boutique with an open floor plan. Skymint does product placement very well. All products and pricing are clearly listed, displayed and easy to understand.

    Customers are free to explore the open floor plan on their own, offering a freer shopping experience. Where many centers feature an associate who stands behind a counter filled with various products (which might feel a little daunting for timid customers), the open floor plan at Skymint allows customers to wander around and check out various products.

    Where choices can seem endless and a little overwhelming at other centers, items at Skymint are so carefully laid out, they require little guidance or explanation.

    If you are someone who would rather search out the magic dragon on your own (with an associate close by when needed), you might stop in and see what Skymint has to offer.

    Gage
    Located on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, close by the IMAX and Celebration Cinema, Gage has the look and feel of a typical retail chain. Gage is a multi-state operator based out of Toronto, Canada, with outlets across the US. The retail floor space is large, the staff is friendly, and if you’ve shopped for cannabis out of state, you can find products with which you’re already familiar.

    After browsing a few edibles, flower and vapes, we were quickly greeted by a friendly staff member who competently explained various products. We were able to move through the process very quickly at Gage and ended up picking up a low dose cannabis infused beverage that we hadn’t seen before.

    Now that you have a little better idea what to expect, time for both the courageously canna–curious or timidly intrepid canna–connoisseur to venture forth.

    Fear no longer, go ahead and check out the wide array of ganja, seek out a “medible” to munch, try some of the funky fern, dip into the dope, mine for the green gold, procure whatever variety wacky tobacky, Indian hay, magic dragon, or sin spinach you’re canna-curious about and discover which provisioning center is right for you.

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