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Newest recreational cannabis shop in Grand Rapids is the first owned by a city resident


Grand Rapid’s first locally-owned recreational marijuana shop is holding a drive-through grand opening this weekend.

Pharmhouse Wellness, on Wealthy St. SW in Grand Rapids, has been in operation as a dispensary for medical cannibas. It’s now expanding into recreational sales.

It’s also the first store to open with help from the city’s Cannabis Social Equity policy, which offers discounts on licensing fees for applicants who meet certain requirements.

Casey Kornoelje, the owner of Pharmhouse Wellness, says he was eligible because he’s a longtime resident of the city, and has a prior conviction for marijuana on his record.

“So those were all things that just happened in my life, along my journey with cannabis,” he says. “And when they rolled out the social equity program, both at the state and the city level, it just made sense.”

Kornoelje says local owners are at a disadvantage in obtaining a license to sell in the city, because it’s harder for a small operator to get enough financing to open their shop. The social equity policy is one way for people like him to expand.

He says he originally opened his shop with just a few employees.

“But it’s just it hasn’t been enough to meet demand and so we’ve had to adapt to that and grow,” he says. “And we’re excited for what the future holds, you know? I think there’s a lot of opportunity to folks.”

Kornoelje says the business now has more than 20 employees, and that number could reach more than 30 by the end of the year.

Pharmhouse Wellness plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, and drive through grand opening events will continue through 4 p.m.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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