MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The city of Muskegon established a medical marijuana overlay district in 2018 as a way to get a number of vacant industrial buildings and shattered storefronts active again.
Inside the district along Laketon Avenue, there are more than a dozen buildings waiting for new life.
Some buildings are already undergoing transformation, including the one Ron Digiacomo now owns at the corner of Peck Street and Laketon Avenue.
It's where Digiacomo plans to open the Bella Sol Wellness Centers in about a month.
The building underwent considerable renovations and includes two adjacent storefronts.
"We have plans to beautify those and rent them out," Digiacomo said.
The Bella Sol Wellness Centers will hire around 10 employees, once it opens.
The excitement two blocks west on Friday was in front of Park Place Provisionary, the first state-licensed medial marijuana provisioning center to open in Muskegon County."
Owner Greg Maki and the 20 workers he's hired held a grand opening and ribbon cutting to mark the occasion.
The store stocks about 50 products to sell to medical marijuana card holders.
"We have everything from flower to edibles," said Aaron Smith, Park Place Provisionary.
The business is inside an extensively renovated former truck terminal. After customers arrive and check in, they're escorted to a secure sales area where they work one-on-one with a "budtender."
"They'll tell you about our product," Maki said. "Some of the customers know exactly what they want."
Customers are already driving from an hour away to get their medicine. The next closest state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are near Kalamazoo and Lansing.
To date, the city of Muskegon has approved 20 medical marijuana provisioning center licenses.
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