In November 2008, Michigan became the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then, talk about marijuana use — and all the legalities involved — has been a hot topic. Then, in November 2018, voters in Michigan passed Proposal 1, which made the Great Lakes State the 10th state, and first in the Midwest, to legalize recreational marijuana. Although controversial to some, this thriving industry is continuing to expand, which means large grow facilities and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.
There is a lot of legal framework that goes into owning and operating a grow facility, but with more than 300,000 medical marijuana patients in the state, and a new base of recreational users on the horizon, those in the growing industry are stepping on the gas and working to expand existing facilities or create new ones. This rapid expansion — and the construction that supports it — has created a new relationship between contractors and growers.
Our team, along with Storey Engineering Group, is currently working with Michigan Pure Med, which has broken ground on a 1.5-million-square-foot grow facility in Marshall on a site that was formerly a bean field. When building a facility of this size and scope, location is an extremely important factor. Not only do you need a place that is central to future dispensaries, but you also need a local community willing to provide the infrastructure to support it.
Michigan Pure Med chose Marshall for its facility because it is an ideal location near the intersection of I-94 and I-69 and will allow for easy distribution to existing and future dispensaries in various locations around the state. Because of the potential positive economic impact in the area, the community in Marshall was very accepting of this project.
Phase one of the building pad was completed last fall, foundations were installed in the winter and steel erection just recently started. Site utilities also have commenced and crews are finalizing the detention basin required to manage the site’s storm-water runoff. These types of large facilities have a tremendous amount of mechanical and electrical requirements to support irrigation and lighting needs. These trades will follow the completion of the steel erection this spring.
Knowing that this industry, which requires the construction of new, large facilities and many smaller dispensaries, is on the forefront of huge growth is something that is exciting for those in the construction industry. There is great opportunity for partnerships between growers, who are looking to quickly build or expand, and skilled contractors who can provide the manpower and equipment to meet the schedule needs of the owner.
The medical and recreational marijuana industry is interesting and ever-evolving, and we are excited to see how this will positively impact the construction industry in Michigan moving forward.