Most of us agree- it's pretty great that Michigan is one of 37 states that have some form of legalized marijuana sales and use. We're only babies to the cause having legalized it in 2018, which means unfortunately there are still a lot of Michiganders behind bars for using or selling it during it's prohibition.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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When it was illegal, marijuana only accounted for 9 percent of arrests in Michigan. According to data from late 2020, there are approximately 1200 Michigan residents still behind bars for a marijuana related crime today.

Several other groups have called the corporatization of cannabis a massive problem, because it's taking money from groups that it generally helped put behind bars before, making it impossible for smaller organizations, growers, and entrepreneurs to join in and make money.

Ethan Miller/ThinkStock/GettyStock
Ethan Miller/ThinkStock/GettyStock
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If that makes you feel a little guilty when you're rolling in to pick something to roll up- that's okay. There are dispensaries in West Michigan that are going above and beyond to do their part to give back to the community, and to move us forward to a better future with the marijuana industry. Here are 5 dispensaries I recommend you check out the next time you're looking to check out.

Exclusive Brands

Exclusive on Facebook
Exclusive on Facebook
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located in: Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, & Ann Arbor

Why should I go to Exclusive?

If you're new to marijuana, or just a seasoned veteran looking for a large selection, Michigan's own Exclusive is one of your best choices. Not only are their budtenders well trained to help you find exactly what you need, they also frequently give back to the community around them with events and giveaways. They're also a Michigan brand, so the money you spend isn't leaving your community to go to some other state.

What do they do to give back?

Exclusive is one of several Michigan chains that participates in the Last Prisoner project, which has a mission of helping pay for litigation, fees, and bail for people arrested under previous Michigan marijuana laws.

Prison interior. Jail cells and shadows, dark background. 3d illustration
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So every time you buy, you have the chance to help others- and that feels pretty great.

Pharmhouse Wellness

Pharmhouse Wellness on Facebook
Pharmhouse Wellness on Facebook
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Location: Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids

Why should I visit?

Pharmhouse is one of West Michigan's only single location dispensaries. It was also the first to open in Grand Rapids, so you're really giving back to a mom-and-pop style shop when you visit them.

What do they give back?

They're probably the loudest and proudest about what they're doing to make the community better. According to their website, Pharmhouse has given back over $33,000 to community groups, as well as making a point to give priority to minority and previous marijuana offenders when it comes to their hiring practices.

Courtesy of Pharmhouse Wellness
Courtesy of Pharmhouse Wellness
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For every negative thing you're seeing about the marijuana industry, Pharmhouse is going above and beyond to make good for it. you can see the full list of what they've done for the community on their website.

Fluerish

Fluerish on Facebook
Fluerish on Facebook
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Location: Philips Ave in Grand Rapids

Why should I visit?

Fluerish's tagline is "designed for the diversity of life", and that's exactly their goal. Instead of making stupid tongue-in-cheek jokes about getting high, they tend to focus more on the patient care part of marijuana. So, if you're a little nervous about trying it, or looking to find pain management help, they'll be a great option for you.

How do they give back?

Not only is their blog helpful for tips on how to use marjiuana products safely and effectively, they also are a voice for change within the industry. After the tragic death of Patrick Lyoya, Fluerish made donations to NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and the Grand Rapids Urban League.

Fluerish also has a recently announced a line of cannabis products that has a purposely reduced carbon footprint in the process of making. This will allow you to feel great about how you're treating the planet while you're enjoying it's gifts.

Rair

Rair on Facebook
Rair on Facebook
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Located in Muskegon, Lowell, Big Rapids, Kalamazoo & Traverse City

Why should I visit?

Rair is a vertically integrated cannabis company, meaning they have their own provisioning center, grow and processing facility. This gives them not only the best chance to have the highest quality product, but some of the best prices.

RAIR on Facebook
RAIR on Facebook
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Their packaging is the easiest to follow too- they have their products color coded from red to blue on a spectrum to show you how much of an indica or sativia your strain is. This makes it easy to know what you're enjoying.

What do they give back?

Rair is for the ladies! No, it's not they only sell to women, it's that they're loudly run and supportive of women in the cannabis industry. Between leading panels to help women in business, they also give extra opportunity in places of management and growth to their female employees.

While you have a ton of choices on where to get your goods, remember that your buying power can help make change, and the world a little bit better. Enjoy that smoke, and do some good in the process.

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