Aug. 22 2012 12:00 AM

n and now: What A Difference A Year Can Make

Last year’s Court of Appeals decision in what’s commonly known as the “McQueen case” effectively rid Michigan Avenue of nearly all 11 of its medical marijuana dispensaries. Today, only one remains. While the decision created a hole in the local economy, it also provided a few eyesores in the form of empty buildings — some of which still haven’t been filled. Here’s a quick breakdown: 

Still operational 

Only one of the original Michigan Avenue dispensaries is still running, and curiously it’s the former sibling of the store in Isabella County that started all the kerfuffle last year in the first place: CA of Lansing is still serving patients, but it did undergo a radical interior facelift (goodbye lockers). Elsewhere about town, Helping Hands, The Herbal Connection and one of Your Healthy Choice Clinic’s two Lansing locations are open on Cedar Street. Star Buds on North Larch Street near Lake Lansing Road and Alternative Medicine at the corner of Pennsylvania and Mt. Hope avenues also are still open.


Continuing down East Michigan Avenue, the site of the former Evolve, 2312 E. Michigan Ave., remained empty for nearly a year before Sunrise Market — an international grocery store and butcher shop — moved in. Both TNT and Top Shelf Buds became cell phone stores, while Capital City Caregivers, located behind Capital City Grow Supply (but no relation), took the high road and became a doctor’s office. Safe Harbor was the last of the Michigan Avenue dispensaries to open. Soon after closing, it became a joint venture with Best Buds, but it dissolved before it could really get its foothold. The location is now Zeppelin’s Lounge. 


Four of the former shops on Michigan Avenue now sit empty, providing some of the latest eyesores on the strip. Relief Choices of Lansing is a vacant slot across the street from Mac’s Bar. The Popcorn Bag’s massive windows reveal a jumbled mess of office supplies. It appears the building owners of the former Kushion are wasting no time trying to woo a new tenant: long gone is the cage at the entrance — instead, you’ll find some tasteful office furniture. Your Healthy Choice Clinic simply moved, merging with the HydroWorld franchise in south Lansing, though the store is now vacant.  

Non-Michigan Avenue casualties

The Mid-Michigan Caregivers location is the most extreme case of urban decay. Huge sheets of plywood keep curiosity seekers and vandals at bay. We were let inside for a peek around and the place looks like a hurricane hit, with furniture and growing equipment scattered willy-nilly. 

A year ago, Green Solutions USA was as clean, well lit and sparkly as a jewelry store. Its exterior still loudly proclaims doctor certifications and quality meds, but the interior is completely stripped. The Herbal Center in East Lansing was preparing to install a kitchen that would have been one of the area’s premier baker of medibles, but that’s not happening. A peek through the window reveals a gutted void.