Bella Sol Wellness Centers will celebrate the grand opening of the store’s recreational marijuana sales with a whirlwind of food, swag, prizes, and more on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14.
“We’ve had a positive experience with our soft opening,” Heather Howell, a patient care specialist at Bella Sol, wrote to us regarding their roll-out of recreational marijuana. “We have been able to provide one-on-one patient care with each individual who had questions about our products.”
The grand opening, which will be held from 10am to 8pm both March 13 and March 14, will include a raffle of the store’s “high-end glass pieces,” Howell said. Raffle proceeds will go to support a local organization, the name of which will be announced at the opening.
Support for the local community, such as with the raffle, has been a priority for Bella Sol since its debut, Howell emphasized.
“We have been into community outreach since we opened in September, from bike trail cleanups to volunteering at food banks,” Howell wrote.
The grand opening will also include “food and refreshments, spin the wheel deals, swag bags, and a social media contest with prizes,” according to Howell. Additionally, services provided to medicinal marijuana patients are available to recreational customers, including an on-site nurse who provides free patient consultations and can answer questions regarding cannabis use, obtaining a medical marijuana card, and other inquiries.
The state Marijuana Regulatory Agency has issued adult-use licenses to 63 businesses in Michigan, including Bella Sol and Park Place Provisionary. Park Place, located at 1922 Park St. in Muskegon, debuted its recreational marijuana in January.
Bella Sol’s launch of recreational marijuana arrives a little more than a year after Michiganders voted to approve it in the November 2018 election. Michigan voters green-lighted legalizing medicinal marijuana in 2008.
Recreational marijuana sales began in Michigan in December; the industry is expected to eventually become a multi-billion dollar enterprise. In the first full fiscal year, combined adult-use and medicinal marijuana sales are projected to generate $180.5 million in taxes—a number that’s poised to grow to $287.9 million by 2022-23, according to the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.
Adult-use sales in Michigan hit $9.8 million in January, compared to about $7 million in December, according to the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency.
The city of Muskegon is one of 103 municipalities in Michigan that allow recreational marijuana dispensaries, according to the state. Other places in West Michigan that have green-lighted adult-use dispensaries include Dalton Township and Grand Rapids. Municipalities like Norton Shores, North Muskegon, Fruitport, and Roosevelt Park have rejected adult-use marijuana, according to the state.
In Muskegon, the marijuana industry is translating to additional tax revenue, pot businesses breathing new life into vacant industrial buildings, building and landscaping upgrades, and other improvements, city officials have said.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Mike Franzak, the city of Muskegon’s director of planning and economic development, said in a previous interview of the recreational marijuana sales.
“We’re seeing it as a way to bolster and beautify an area that’s kind of run down,” Franzak said in reference to the city’s medical and recreational marijuana overlay district—the space where the marijuana businesses are currently permitted to operate. “It’s new retail, and that’s good. We’re hoping there’s a snowball effect where those recreational marijuana sales will not only lead to the beautification of the area but also spur other investment opportunities.”
Muskegon’s medical marijuana overlay district was approved by city lawmakers in 2018, and its recreational overlay district was given the greenlight by legislators this past October. City lawmakers approved both the sale and growth of recreational marijuana in the overlay district, as well as consumption establishments—commercial venues where patrons would be able to purchase and use marijuana and THC on site.
The recreational overlay district is located near Seaway Drive, with one section of the district being bordered by Seaway, Young Avenue, Park Street, and West Hackley Avenue. The district’s second section is bordered by Laketon Avenue, Park Street, Keating Avenue, Holbrook Avenue, and just east of Peck Street.
Bella Sol Wellness Centers CEO Mindy Budzynski has praised Muskegon’s stance on marijuana, saying it was the city lawmakers’ pro-cannabis business attitude that drew her to open a shop in the community.
In a November interview, Budzynski said she chose to operate in Muskegon because “it’s a pretty good size but also has a very progressive city commission and city employees.”
“They are obviously trying to create jobs, create growth, improve housing,” Budzynski said. “We saw it as being a good location in terms of the size, the direction the city is going, their progressive beliefs, and being part of a community that’s very supportive. Everyone has been very welcoming.”