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Profiting from the legalization of Marijuana in Grand Rapids: The ongoing legacy of the racist War on Drugs: Part II

May 6, 2019

Two weeks ago we raised the question about who would be profiting off of the sale of marijuana in Grand Rapids, once the City had conducted a lottery process to determine who would get permits to sell the newly legalized substance. 

On April 26, the City had their lottery drawing, where 80 applicants had applied and are now eligible to sell marijuana in the city once the Planning Commission has conducted a reviewed. To see the list of 80, go to this link and click on View Draw Results.

While there were 80 applications, there were only 27 separate entities. Below is a listing of the 27 entities that applied, followed by a number, which represents how many locations they have applied for.


As you can see, some of these businesses could control a significant percentage of the marijuana sales in Grand Rapids. Humble Roots LLC, which has 18 applications in, is listed as being based in Battle Creek, but in reality it was founded in California and Colorado and has numerous dispensaries all over Michigan.

Green Skies – Healing Tree LLC, which has 17 dispensary applications submitted, is owned by Leafly and has dispensaries all over Michigan, as well as other states in the US. Leafly is a subsidiary of a much larger company, Privateer Holdings, which owns numerous other businesses within its portfolio.

Greenstone Michigan LLC, which has 7 dispensary applications in to the City of Grand Rapids, appears to be the same entity which has numerous dispensaries already in Ann Arbor and Lansing

Oak Flint LLC, which has 3 dispensary applications submitted, also has applications submitted in Lansing

Green Bronco IV LLC, which also has 3 dispensary applications, already has operations in Battle Creek and in Lansing

In fact, virtually every applicant that is seeking a dispensary in Grand Rapids, has either obtained a permit in other cities – Lansing, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek – or the applications are pending.

It would appear that most of the applications in Grand Rapids and businesses who are not from Grand Rapids and most of the same applicants are businesses operating in numerous cities, some even in other states.

Now, the applicants have not yet been approved, until they go before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, but it appears that these businesses will not be operated by African Americans. Therefore, Michelle Alexander’s observation about who will be profiting off of marijuana sales, now that they are legal, will be white businesses.

This is the result of capitalism, the free market system, where profits come before justice and where white supremacy silences black liberation. The swiftness of the dispensary applicants appears to be drowning the belief that black people who have been incarcerated for marijuana possession or distribution, will somehow get justice and be paid reparations for the time they have done in the prison industrial complex.

We will continue to follow this story, once the applicants have gone before the Planning Commission.















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