In no surprise to this writer, many of the companies and retailers that continue to dominate the Top of the Town awards are Lansing locals with years of experience that predates the state-regulated industry. Our area has always been at the forefront of cannabis culture and activism, making it a natural leader as the industry has matured and grown more robust year after year.
I want to highlight a few great operators that have topped the Top of the Town list this year. We live in a time when industry awards from customers mean less and less. The relentless arms race toward higher THC dosages and lower prices has made many dubious about the validity of such awards. As a longtime industry member and avid cannabis consumer, I can say I’m truly impressed with the palate and preferences of Lansing-area cannabis users. The full list of winners includes some of the best cannabis brands and operators Michigan has to offer, and almost all of them call the capital area home.
Laingsburg’s Local Roots is back on the list this year, with wins in Best Marijuana Provisioning Center and Best CBD Store/Boutique categories. This marks the third year in a row that the rural retailer has won Best Marijuana Provisioning Center. The owners of this family-operated business have years of cannabis experience under their belts and a genuine passion for the plant and its surrounding culture. The store also offers some of the best customer service and curated inventory in Michigan, plus an aggressive community outreach agenda that includes a yearly turkey giveaway and sponsoring nearly every local event and community affair in the owners’ lifelong hometown of Laingsburg. Local Roots is also a prolific advocate for the cannabis community and has put thousands of dollars and hundreds of labor hours into numerous expungement events and fundraisers that aim to aid those who have been harmed by cannabis prohibition.
Franklin Fields and The Botanical Co.
Lansing cannabis cultivator and processor Franklin Fields and its brick-and-mortar Lansing store, The Botanical Co., joined the Top of the Town list this year with a first-place finish in the Best Cannabis Flower — Sativa category for their Orange Zkittlez strain, a second-place finish in the Best Cannabis Flower — Indica category for their Superboof strain and a third-place finish in the Best Cannabis Flower — Hybrid category for their First Class Funk strain. First Class Funk is quickly picking up a following across the state as Franklin Fields strengthens its market penetration and its reputation for offering its products great prices. I was lucky enough to get a tour of its facility, which is near the Capital Region International Airport, and I was truly blown away by the quality and efficiency of the grow. In addition, the company is made up of numerous former caregiver and legacy operators, and it invests heavily in expungement efforts across the state. I picked up some of the strains the facility produces as samples and was incredibly impressed, especially when I saw the prices the company is selling them for. It won’t surprise me to see Franklin Fields on this list again next year in many more categories as it continues to roll out more and more unique products and expands its solventless and other concentrate offerings.
Lion Labs and Pure Options’ Element
I was happy to see that Lansing-area readers clearly have refined and heady pallets because they voted Element to the top of the list in both the Best Solvent Concentrate and Best Non-Solvent Concentrate categories. Both are collaborations with perennial Top of the Town winner Pure Options/Pro-Gro, another cannabis powerhouse with deep caregiver roots, and Lansing-based processor Lion Labs, which has some of the best top-shelf offerings in the state, spread across various concentrates, vape carts, edibles and infused joints. Lion Labs also produces a highly lauded line of live-resin infused Rick Simpson oil and other cannabis products, including tablets with various cannabinoids and delivery methods for medical patients. In addition, Lion Labs’ Potdots won second place in the Best Non-Gummy Edible category. I’m thrilled to see these companies achieving commercial success while still carrying out the tradition of medical cannabis and serving patients.
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