Sensi Magazine

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Here's what's up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula...
By Allison Farley
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With 84% of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P) covered in plush forest, the 906 area code is home to just 3% of the state’s entire population, spanning from the Eastern Wisconsin border to the mighty Mackinac Bridge. Since recreational cannabis was legalized in December 2017, the U.P. has seen the opening of more than two dozen recreational and medical cannabis facilities within its 15 counties. Here is a look at some of the hotter spots where you can enjoy the local sites and sample the local cannabis. 

Dispensaries Racing Outhouses

Upper Michigan’s slue of unusual events has always been one of its greatest appeal. And perhaps nothing says more unusual than the last week of February’s Trenary Outhouse Classic (a Yooper favorite since its origin in 1994), where attendees from around the Midwest gather in the small town of Trenary to race man-made and often hilariously themed outhouses. Local cannabis companies, Dunegrass and Higher Love got involved with the event soon after opening their doors.

“We knew Dunegrass would be a great fit,” says Brian Buchanan, director of tourism strategy for Dunegrass. “The event attracts nearly 2,000 locals and friends just hanging out, enjoying the frosty winter weather, and is something uniquely U.P. It’s also a way for local businesses to give back to the community since the whole thing is a fundraiser for the city.” All proceeds directly support the city of Trenary, and the cost is $20 per person to race or $3 in advance to attend.

Great Lakes Cannabis Education Conference

Further north in Marquette, budding entrepreneurs and those seeking to further their education and connections can take a seat at the annual Great Lakes Cannabis Education Conference at Northern Michigan University. The event incorporates local brand owners like Meghan Poglese of North Coast Cultivators and course leaders of NMU’s Medicinal Plant Chemistry and Cannabis Business Programs to educate ticket holders on the state of Michigan’s cannabis market, advances in canna tech, and give guests an opportunity for networking. The conference takes place on the NMU campus and is open to the public.

Consuming Up North

Escanaba is likely to become another hot spot for Yooper Cannabis Tourism. In 2023, the city opened its doors to three additional provisioning centers and one privately owned consumption lounge and event space after previously only allowing Tribal partnered businesses to set up shop in the city limits. The private event space, formerly known as The Delft Nightclub, is now home to monthly events and get-togethers, where cannabis is not only celebrated on-site but also consumed. “We are becoming an extension of all the area dispensaries hosting various events from prohibition roaring 20s parties to comedians to live music and puff and paint events,” says James Peterson, owner of The Delft. 

Elevated Exotics Summer's End Smokeout (SESO)

Elevated Exotics, Summer’s End Smokeout (SESO)

A Festival in the Forest

If you’re looking for live music and art installations, consider Summer’s End Smokeout, Republic’s annual celebration of music and cannabis, on the grounds of Boulder Alley Disc Golf Course the weekend of August 8, 2024. Camping is available on-site all weekend, and the party keeps rolling until 4 a.m., bumping EDM beats into the night and displaying multiple impressive laser light shows. Headliners like Devin Tha Dude, Unity the Band, The Widdler, and Echoes of Pink Floyd took the stage over the past two years, along with dozens of other regional and international performance artists. The event hosts two stages, a half dozen food vendors, and cannabis sales on site. Hidden secret about this venue? Not only is it a disc golf course, but it’s also on the same property as a BMX/Motocross Dirt Track.

MC3 Botanicals

MC3 Botanicals

Yooper Strains

Paying homage to the area, MC3 Botanicals, based in Crystal Falls, have developed strains that tie directly into U.P. heritage, such as Amasa AK, Frosty Yooper, and Mastodon Mama. “Our first Lead Grower, Bruce Primo, loved creating unique strains, so we were creating right from the start,” says MC3 Botanicals founder and president Sherry Smies-Evins. “Since we are proud to be in the U.P., we also wanted those strains to highlight and honor our beautiful location.” For instance, AMASA was a favorite location for Bruce, so the first custom strain was branded AMASA-AK, and Mastodon Mama honors Mastodon Township for approving local cannabis businesses. Another local brand favorite, Frosty Yooper, pulls its title from the lovable nickname of anyone living in the U.P. (Yoopers) and the impressive trichomes on the bud, giving it a frosty appearance.

Stoney Moose Bud & Breakfast

The Stoney Moose Bud & Breakfast

Bud & Breakfast in the Northwoods

Looking for a bud & breakfast option? Check out the Stoney Moose Bud & Breakfast set to open its new relocation in Deerton at the start of the camping season in May. The B&B offers a canvas bell-top tent perched in the middle of an overflowing flower and produce garden. The site includes cannabis tastings and fresh produce charcuteries.