Highlight – Lume Cannabis Co. Open for Business in Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians welcomed Lume Cannabis Co. to town in January, with the Sault Ste. Marie location opening on January 15th, followed by the Escanaba location opening on January 29th. Anticipation has grown since the announcement of this historic partnership last July, detailing multiple Lume locations slated for opening in 2021 and 2022 throughout the Tribe’s seven-county service area.
“This is a big moment for our tribe for the opportunities it represents. Until now, we have been on the outside of this thriving industry and we look forward to working with Lume to help Michiganders experience the numerous health, wellness and other benefits of Lume’s high-quality cannabis products,” says Sault Tribe EDC Executive Director, Joel Schultz.
The openings mark the 14th and 15th (respectively) stores for the Michigan-based, vertically-integrated cannabis company. The strategic advantage of the partnership between the Sault Tribe and Lume Cannabis Co. lies in leveraging the benefits of tribal sovereignty, while at the same time operating within the state’s regulatory framework for the industry. Many of the communities surrounding the company’s stores have opted out of Michigan’s recreational cannabis market, as allowed under the 2018 law passed by Michigan voters. However, local and state restrictions do not apply to lands in those communities that are held in trust for federally recognized American Indian tribes, which are sovereign nations under federal law.
After Michigan voted to legalize cannabis, the Tribe began looking at the industry in earnest. The Sault Tribe EDC fielded 25 proposals from companies and individuals regarding the cannabis industry before moving forward with Lume. “There are some impressive, capable people within that organization that could assure us they were going to operate in a professional, first-class manner and that we were going to provide our people and the community with a responsible, quality product,” Schultz added.
Offering a quality experience is what sets Lume apart from other operators. “Our cultivation team is comprised of some of the best in the world at what they do, and come to us highly experienced in legal cannabis markets,” says Lume COO, Doug Hellyar. Vertical integration allows Lume to oversee the entire process from seed to sale, including cultivation and manufacturing of their products, testing, distribution, and the retail process. Vertical integration of their products has allowed Lume Cannabis Co. to grow to more than 500 employees across Michigan, providing quality, high paying jobs with competitive benefits.
Many tribal members are taking advantage of job opportunities in a resilient and fast growing industry. Lume’s inclusive culture has brought jobs and revenue not only for the Tribe, but opportunities for local students enrolled in newly-established cannabis programs in Chemistry and Business at Lake Superior State University, Bay Mills Community College, and Northern Michigan University. “Our Luminaries are knowledgeable and well-trained to offer assistance to a wide range of clients on both the medical and recreational benefits of our products,” says Lume Sault Ste. Marie Store Manager, and Sault Tribe member, Dana MacArthur.
MacArthur’s experience in retail management played heavily in her decision to join the Lume Sault Ste. Marie management team. After a lengthy training period on site at Lume’s Mackinaw City location, she set her main goal to grow and exceed clients’ expectations in her role as a cannabis educator to both her team members and the clients she serves. “Although we offer our products to Michigan’s recreational market, there is a large local market of caregivers already established in the area,” with medical cannabis available to patients as allowed under the 2008 law passed by Michigan voters. “Some have extensive experience with CBD and THC products, others are just curious about their options, but the motivation comes from delivering on the promise of consistently offering a quality customer experience,” offers MacArthur.
That quality customer experience comes from Lume’s ability to rapidly respond to an evolving regulatory framework, allowing Lume to lean heavily on technology to enhance the way they do business with clients. “Prior to COVID-19 we focused 100% on the in-store experience, almost overnight the focus shifted to 100% curbside pickup, in-store pickup, and home delivery. Service has changed and we are learning a lot,” says Hellyar. With Michigan dispensaries deemed essential businesses throughout the pandemic, Lume has continued to operate and adapt to shifting local, state, and federal guidelines. On the operational side, staff take their role very seriously, with daily temperature checks, mandatory masks, and increased sanitation protocols. “We’re encouraging online ordering, although our stores our open at limited capacity, we’re ramping up pickup and delivery to limit in-store traffic.” offers MacArthur.
With more communities across Michigan opting in to establish recreational cannabis markets, the State should see much needed increases in their revenue streams as they struggle to balance budgets already under strain due to declining tax revenues as a result of businesses struggling to keep their doors open through the pandemic. The idea of cannabis tourism, mirroring the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry, continues to prove a viable option for communities already leaning heavily on tourism dollars. “Every location varies, but we have stores tucked away outside of towns, we have storefronts right on main street, it really depends on how the community plans for the industry moving forward,” says Hellyar.
Both Hellyar and MacArthur praise the Sault Tribe for its calculated, yet progressive approach to the cannabis industry. “There’s two sides to the coin, do you plan to stay ahead of the curve, or do you try to play catch up after the curve’s passed you by?” posits MacArthur. “The Tribe’s strong interest in the industry and Schultz’s enthusiastic approach have made for a sound partnership,” adds Hellyar. Sault Tribe Thrive is proud to highlight the tribal business partnership between Lume Cannabis Co. and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and we thank Doug Hellyar and Dana MacArthur for connecting with us, and we welcome their team to the community.
Lume offers more than 20 strains of high-quality Lume flower, lines of effects-based Lume Cartridges and Lume Gummies, a line of Lume-branded CBD infused tinctures, balms, body butters, and more. All Lume flower is grown and cultivated in a state-of-the-art facility in Evart, Michigan, by a team of highly trained and experienced growers, which ensures all Lume products have consistent aromas, appearances and effects. Lume products are produced without harmful chemicals and go through the most rigorous testing in the industry to ensure they meet the highest standards for quality and safety.
Lume Cannabis Company is a privately held, vertically integrated cannabis company with deep Michigan roots, committed to producing high-quality cannabis products for medical patients and recreational consumers to enjoy.