Michigan Marijuana Businesses Launch Tours Showing Cultivation & Processing Secrets – Original Way To Fight Stigma

What's the best way to fight stigma? Education, right?

That's what several Michigan marijuana companies are doing to neutralize the stigma around weed. They're giving tours so people can get a close-up look at what they do, including how cannabis plants are grown, harvested and processed.

For Karen Kekelik, co-owner of the microbusiness IndiGrow in Muskegon, this was a natural addition to the company's services, writes Detroit Free Press. Kekelik and her husband, Steven began offering tours several months after they opened, making education the core of their company’s strategy.

“You get to see the lightbulb change when someone sees the possibilities of cannabis as a medicine and an alternative to alcohol," Steven Kekelik said. "We wanted to bring that to anyone who wanted to learn and experience that. That's very hard to do currently.”

Karen Kekelik added that the marijuana industry has been kind of in the shadows and in order to end the stigma it should be brought out into the light, “so people can see this is a serious business.”

IndiGrow Tours

For $100 an hour, IndiGrow does a five-person tour. They provide the required protective garb like hairnets and shoe covers, a question and answer session, five pre-rolls and a T-shirt.

Tour guests go through air showers that clear them from contaminants. They get a look at the life cycle of marijuana plants, from the early stages of growth to the flower rooms with buds and the blossoming plants. Then the guests visit the trimming, drying and curing rooms.

The last room is the processing lab where visitors learn about the various extraction methods used to remove oil from the plants which is later used to make products like edibles and tinctures.

Steven Kekelik says the tours are helping the company financially by diversify their income streams and boosting their sales. He compares the experience to visiting a local farmers’ market.

Do Not Change Minds And Do Not Debate The Topic

Grasshopper Farms, an outdoor farm in southwest Michigan also offers this type of tour free of charge.

"If you really want to demystify something, then open your door and show what's going on," Will Bowden CEO at Grasshopper Farms said. Tours are "the best and most effective way for us to do that."

He admits that there is the risk of inadvertently exposing proprietary information that competitors could steal but, Bodwen says it’s a risk worth taking.

He instructs his employees that when giving tours to never try to change minds or debate the topic of cannabis. He says they should just introduce themselves, the team and show what they do. The idea behind the “don’t debate” policy came after realizing many people taking the tour were eager for debate, and after the tour feeling at least OK about what is being done at Grasshopper Farms.

Why for free? Tours are partly aimed at retailers so that they can choose to sell the company’s products in their stores after seeing how they're made.

Bowden says he plans to increase the tours and set up an education center in the next couple of years. He also wants to turn two houses on the property into Airbnbs and provide guests with a “marijuana experience.”

Continue reading at Detroit Free Press.

Photo: Courtesy of Cannafornia via Pexels


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Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketsCannabis ToursGrasshopper FarmsIndiGrowKaren KekelikMichigan cannabisWill Bowden
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