Michigan's first drive-through marijuana store has opened in south Lansing. The facility, which is owned by the Bazonzoes Provisioning Center, is between two fast-food chains and a third nearby. The owner of the company, who is also the founder of a medical marijuana organization, said the drive-through model is a step toward decriminalizing marijuana.
Owner Anthony Virga said the goal is to create a welcoming environment for both patients and their customers. He noted that the drive-through model will allow people to bring their kids with them when they're in the store. During the grand opening on June 10, the company also held a DJ and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Although the drive-through model is familiar, he noted that it can be a bit challenging for customers to get used to. They'll need to pre-order their items before they can enter the store. In order to verify their IDs, customers will pull up to a monitor screen that shows live video of the employee.
The store's interior features a drawer beneath the monitor, which is used for transactions. He said the company aims to make the drive-through model as safe as possible. He noted that since marijuana is a valuable product, most people who use fast-food establishments don't spend a lot of money on their purchases.
He believes that the drive-through model would not have been possible without the legalization of recreational marijuana. He also noted that the growing acceptance of recreational delivery services has helped reduce the stigma surrounding marijuana.
The company held a grand opening for its third location on June 10. It was the first drive-through marijuana store in Michigan. In March, the state's Marijuana Regulatory Agency allowed drive-throughs and other forms of retail sales.
Rick Thompson is the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws of Michigan. He also owns a number of development programs for the legal marijuana industry in the state.
Thompson was one of the first customers to use the drive-through. He said that it's a symbol of the establishment's intention to be a part of the local community and the normalization of marijuana use. He noted that people tend to forget that it was still illegal prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
He also noted that drive-throughs can help consumers who are hesitant to try marijuana due to their privacy concerns or because they might want to avoid being seen. He said the convenience of being in a vehicle also helps people with disabilities. He believes that the industry is moving toward an ideal situation where marijuana retailers are almost invisible.