Michigan issued its first cannabis microbusiness license this month to Onaway’s Sticky Bush Farms, which is now preparing to transition from the state’s caregiver market to adult-use sales.
The vertically integrated license, meant for smaller craft operators, will allow the company to grow up to 150 plants that can be processed into oil, edibles and other products for sale in an adult-use storefront.
“The microbusiness license allows us to be able to do pretty much everything under one roof,” Sticky Bush Farms owner Ben Kolasa tells Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary, adding that the company will grow, process and sell its cannabis in the same building it has been using to serve the caregiver market.
Licensed microbusinesses must be self-contained and cannot acquire cannabis products from third-party cultivators, processors or retailers. Likewise, the licensees cannot sell any products to other licensed businesses along the supply chain.
Sticky Bush Farms plans to bring flower, concentrates, edibles and rosins to Michigan’s adult-use market, and Kolasa sees vertical integration as a key advantage.
“We can control everything we do,” he says. “We really just wanted to be able to … focus on growing the best quality cannabis that we can. … That’s kind of why we got the license, because it was smaller. We could hopefully make it more of a craft business instead of just growing a lot of plants.”
The licensing process required Kolasa to receive municipal approval from Onaway before seeking state approval, and although it was a long process, he says the state was helpful along the way.
Now, with a final license in hand, Sticky Bush Farms team members are focused on tagging all of their plants to log them in the Metrc seed-to-sale tracking system, as well as preparing the storefront for opening day, which is slated for November.
The biggest challenge, Kolasa says, will be preparing the facility’s lab and kitchen to produce concentrates and edibles.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re just pushing forward little by little,” he says.
Overall, Kolasa says he is excited to pave the way for the state’s craft cannabis market as Michigan’s first microbusiness license holder.
“I think it’ll … help the smaller guy out a lot to not have to hopefully spend as much money [on the license],” he says. “They can focus, just like we want to do, on bringing a craft cannabis market. … Competition is good and … I just think it’ll be cool for the market to be able to see all the different little places open up and what people have to offer.”
Looking ahead, Kolasa wants to expand slowly, once the Sticky Bush Farms team has a chance to assess the market.
In the shorter-term, the company is determining which cannabis varieties to cultivate for its expanded customer base.
“We’ve been doing that for a while,” Kolasa says. “We do have strains that we’ve been running for a while, but we’re always going through more to try to find something better, something cool. I’m sure we’ll have some that just stay around, and then there’ll be a revolving wheel [of others]. Testing is kind of expensive, so we’re not going to do a whole lot of strains right off the bat. Plus, we can’t focus on a whole lot of strains at once. That’s … why the smaller [plant] count is kind of cool, so we can focus on those ones that really matter.”
Eventually, the company will look to hire additional staff and add on to its current facility to support additional product categories.
“We definitely have to add on,” Kolasa says. “We need to get to a spot where we can do our concentrates, [and] we need a spot for edibles. We want to be able to provide everything, so people can come in and get whatever they want.”