Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2015
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock
Author: Larry Gabriel


Alan and Christi Marshall own 10 English Bulldogs so it seems like a 
natural extension that the company they own along with Phil Sable 
would take on that moniker.

Bulldog Provisioning Center even sports a picture of a rather 
tough-looking bulldog on its logo. But Pullo, the dog wandering the 
premises the day I visited, was more cuddly than threatening as he 
waddled about the provisioning center seeking a little affection. 
Pullo rubbed against the legs of a patient who bent over to scratch 
his neck on a slow afternoon - apparently they've become pals.

"We want you to feel relaxed when you come in the door," says Alan.

The center is indeed relaxing, with a big stuffed couch and a couple 
of chairs where you can sit back and put your feet up in a front room 
where a flat-screen television hangs on the wall. There's a coffee 
pot and a bowl of candy bars in the corner. Magazines are spread out 
on a low table and framed photographs adorn the area. It feels like a 
living room in a modern home, or the waiting room of a particularly 
comfortable doctor's office.

"I wanted something where I could walk in here with my mother and 
grandmother and have them feel comfortable," says Christi. "Any 
caregiver can utilize our facility as a safe access center that is 
clean, well lit, and comfortable. It shouldn't be a shady, dirty, or 
intimidating scenario."

Bulldog, tucked in an area off State Street near Briarwood Mall in 
Ann Arbor, is one of many businesses trying to find their way in an 
evolving Michigan medical marijuana market.

Any caregiver in the state can use the facility. If they have the 
proper documents, a caregiver and a patient can use a room at Bulldog 
to make an exchange. If the caretaker has already weighed and 
packaged the medication, the whole thing could be at no cost for use 
of the room. However, if they need to use a scale, packaging 
materials, or other amenities, there is a sliding scale for costs. 
The Marshalls say about 50 caregivers use Bulldog each month.

The place has a small retail room where glass pipes, vaporizers, 
papers, and other paraphernalia can be purchased. Another space 
dubbed "the pharmacy room" sports a glass counter containing small 
glass jars containing dried cannabis flowers with names like 
Strawberry Kush, Apollo 13, Dumpster, and Sour Diesel.

"Cannatonic is probably our highest utilized strain," says Christi.

Cannatonic is a high-CBD Indica strain that many patients find 
calming. It's favored by veterans who suffer from PTSD, one of the 
qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Michigan. Another 
high-CBD indicator named Black is popular.

These strains are not CBD-only but contain higher amounts of CBD than 
usual in proportion to the THC found in them. The Marshalls say that 
95 percent of the flowers, oils, and infusions available at Bulldog 
have been tested at places such as Iron Labs in Walled Lake and PSI 
Labs in Ann Arbor.

There are also topical oils, CO2 extractions, e-cigars, infused 
drinks, and edibles available. They even have Rick Simpson hemp oil.

With that said, Bulldog does not seem like a busy place where a high 
volume of transactions are taking place or a lot of money is being 
exchanged. Alan works as a driver for a roofing company, the same 
company that put the roof on the Meijer store at Eight Mile Road and 
Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

My sense is that, like numerous others, they are in place and waiting 
for the state legislature to pass legislation that will allow local 
municipalities to choose if they will allow provisioning centers or 
not. Washtenaw County already seems pretty tolerant in that regard, 
but until the state acts there will still be gray areas where 
businesses are not entirely sure if it's legally safe to operate. A 
recent report from California's ArcView Group claims that legal 
marijuana is the fastest growing industry in America.

"Do you know how many people we could put to work?" asks Christi in 
reference to a potential statewide industry.

The creature comforts of Bulldog stand in contrast to the hard-edged 
look of some places around here where security and other concerns add 
up to a rather uninviting image. Yes, the Marshalls can tell you 
about all the cameras that are around the place, but they have a 
place that seems more like home.

God's plant: Texas has a refreshing take in a bill introduced last 
week that would legalize marijuana in the Lone Star State. Most 
legalization attempts refer to regulating and taxing marijuana like 
alcohol. The Texas bill, introduced by Republican Rep. David Simpson, 
would regulate marijuana like "tomatoes, jalapenos, or coffee." 
Simpson added, "All that God created is good. Let's allow the plant 
to be utilized for good - helping people with seizures, treating 
warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products - or simply 
for beauty and enjoyment," Simpson said. "Government prohibition 
should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor - not of the 
possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants."

Last week, Rhode Island legislators jumped on the marijuana bandwagon 
and introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in 
the state. Adult residents would be allowed to have up to one ounce 
and grow one plant for personal use. Smoking marijuana in public 
would not be allowed. Rhode Island already has a medical marijuana 
law. It's not clear how much legislative support the bill has.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom