musicians playing at a marijuana event

Marijuana Events: One Day We’ll Smoke Pot Together Again

It seemed like a great idea a few months ago—adding “marijuana events organizer” to my business portfolio. It was meant to be something that I could offer clients and was to be a magnet for potential clients. 

In Michigan, if you want to host a marijuana consumption event, one where you can buy and consume, you’ll need to work with a licensed marijuana event organizer (MEO) or pay a fee of $6000 to the state if you want to DIY.

MEOs are the paperwork and compliance detail professionals for Michigan’s marijuana consumption events. Working at more than 90 days before the event, the MEO looks after a few dozen essential details like on-site cannabis vendors, crowd size, admission and tickets, security, insurance, public relations, marketing, signage, parking, waste disposal and more. Above all, a marijuana event organizer ensures that an event is safe, successful and fun.

Except there are no events, marijuana or otherwise. Not right now, anyway.

This ahead of the curve, “skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been” thinking has haunted me throughout my cannabis career. I launched Canna Communication in 2017. It was many months before I had any clients as Michigan was working its way through its first effort at licensing medical marijuana businesses and even early applicants for provisioning centers would be more than a year away from opening.

For my MEO I was able to take advantage of Michigan’s social equity program. Being a lifelong resident of Muskegon allowed me to apply for a slightly discounted application and license fee because of Muskegon’s higher than average record of marijuana arrests. They knocked a sweet 25 percent off of the fees. It was the discount AND living/working in a community that opted in for marijuana special events that gave me the incentive to begin the application process. Not every community allows these types of events, but the City of Muskegon is one of them. 

When I applied for my marijuana event license I was quite sure I was in the right place at the perfect time.

As my marijuana event license was working its way through the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, COVID-19 was working its way into the population. 

Michigan’s governor declared a state of emergency, and people were asked to self-quarantine. Gatherings of more than ten people are not allowed. Uh oh. I was already working with a Muskegon client on an event for the first anniversary of their provisioning center. Those plans are still on hold.

Like everything else in Michigan, from the Cherry Festival to Electric Forest to Hash Bash, cancellations are taking their toll, and longstanding events won’t be held. It’s doubtful that any significant group events will happen this summer.

a party horn to illustrate a marijuana event

It won’t last forever. We’ll power through this pandemic and figure out how to gather safely. Events and festivals are important to people and communities. For some places, they’re part of a community’s history and have been held for decades without stopping— events and festivals are economic drivers, and they bring people to a place and keep them coming back year after year.

As marijuana becomes more mainstream in Michigan and our culture, you’re likely to see a new full-blown music festival with a cannabis focus or to have a cannabis sales and consumption area as part of an existing event. It wasn’t that long ago that beer tents became part of many community festivals that were previously dry. As with anything new, changing people’s perceptions and showing success will lead to adoption and embracing an idea. When we come out of COVID-19 hibernation, there will be marijuana events and that’s something we can look forward to celebrating together. 

If you are interested in learning more about marijuana events just give us a shout.

a sign showing where High and Main Streets intersect illustrating the normalization of marijuana events
the chemical map of THC

Cannabis Curious: A Guide to Marijuana in Michigan

Phew. Prohibition is over and people are free to purchase recreational marijuana in Michigan. If you’re thinking about trying cannabis for the first time, or if it has been a few decades since the last time you enjoyed a sesh, we’re giving you some help in making your first purchase and then fully enjoying the experience.

Finding a shop with marijuana products to purchase is going to be your biggest challenge. At present there are just a handful of marijuana provisioning stores in Michigan that are licensed for recreational sales and most are clustered around Ann Arbor and in a few rural spots across the state.

A hand holding three marijuana buds.

We expect that by the summer of 2020, it’ll be easier to find places to purchase marijuana in Michigan and that more communities will be opting in for recreational sales. Until then, use Leafly or Weedmaps for locating a shop near you.

You’ll need to make sure the shop is recreational before you head out because not all are and it isn’t always clear.

A few tips to make your entrance smooth.

  • Bring a valid ID. You’ll need a driver’s license or state-issued ID to make a purchase of marijuana in Michigan.
  • You must be 21 years of age or older to buy anything.
  • Bring cash. It’s strange in these times to carry a wad of bills, but most provisionaries don’t process credit or debit cards. Most of them do have ATMs in the lobby or can tell you where the closest one is located.
  • How much cash? Check out the menu before you go, that’ll give you an idea of what flower (the cannabis you smoke in a joint is called flower), edibles and vape carts will cost. On average, people spend about $100 on a visit.
  • Ask questions of the budtender behind the counter in the shop. She or he should be able to answer most of your questions and will know specifics about the products. You won’t be able to see inside the packages of the wax or edibles as they’re sealed. You should be able to see and smell the cannabis flower that’s for sale. You’ll also be able to read the THC percentage of the flower—the more THC, the more potent the product and usually the price goes up, too.
  • By state law, you can have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower (or equivalent_ on your person and up to 10 ounces in your home. When you leave the provisioning center, the most product you can take with you is 2.5 ounces. In all likelihood, you’ll buy a gram or two of flower, which costs between $15-$20 per gram and gives you a nice amount to test out. The shop will factor in the weight (of the THC) of your concentrates or edibles, too.
  • If you buy cannabis flower, you’ll need a grinder, rolling papers, cones or a pipe and a lighter. If you’ve never rolled a joint, here’s some help.
  • If not sure about buying flower, grinding and rolling, just buy a pre-roll. It’s a ready-to-smoke joint. Pre-rolls run about $10-$15 depending on the THC percentage.
  • If you buy a vape cart, you’ll need a battery (aka pen) to fire up the vape cart. It’s rechargeable in a USB port.
  • Edible marijuana in Michigan for the recreational market are packaged in 100 mg child-proof containers and dosed in 10 mg pieces. Edibles aren’t just brownies, gummies or candy. They come in a variety of forms—tinctures, capsules or instance. If you don’t like the idea of smoking or vaping, but still want to try cannabis, edibles are a solid option.

Now, take your stash home and get ready to enjoy it. Our blog titled Cannabis Curious: Let’s Try Some Weed will give you some help with consuming.