A popular west coast cannabis brand has arrived in the Mitten from California. And now the company is leaning on Michigan farmers to keep up its reputation for sustainable agriculture and good weed.
MICHIGAN—Lex Corwin spots opportunity in the state of Michigan.
In the five years since cannabis was legalized here for recreational use, more than 600 pot shops across the state have sold nearly $6 billion worth of weed. With nearly $2.3 billion in sales recorded last year, Michigan is now home to the second-largest (and fastest growing) cannabis market in the US—second only to California, with about $5 billion in annual sales.
So, what do you do when you’re already running a successful cannabis brand in California?
You move into Michigan, too.
Corwin, the founder of Stone Road Cannabis, told The MichiGanja Report that expanding his line of cannabis products into Michigan was a no-brainer. While cannabis sales in California declined in 2022 for the first time since legalization, Michigan is still riding a high.
“It’s one of the largest cannabis markets in the country, so for us, we just knew that we needed to be there in Michigan,” Corwin said. “It’s just such a diverse state with so many consumers—and a ton of great cultivators, too. We just see a lot of opportunity in Michigan.”
So far, Stone Road is starting small. A limited lineup of the company’s signature, 1-gram, hash-infused pre-rolled joints hit the shelves last month at Bazonzoes in Walled Lake; Cloud Cannabis Co. in Ann Arbor; Crave in Monroe; and Endo Vibes Cannabis in Adrian. Five-packs of joints and half-ounce “Roll Your Own” pouches are also coming later this year.
Corwin said he hopes his cannabis brand stands out for a variety of reasons, including his company’s commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural practices. He said his partners in Michigan—who are required because you can’t ship weed across the country—are committed to only using organic pesticides, with soil instead of artificial substrates.
The original 57-acre, solar-powered Stone Road farm in California only uses ladybugs to control pests, as well as operates its own water regeneration system. For Corwin, it was important to partner only with other family-owned farms that were also committed to sustainable agriculture.
“We want to offer something different than what’s on the market—a more all-natural alternative,” Corwin explained. “We don’t use any additives or synthetic ingredients. There’s no trim or shake or distillate, no cotton candy flavored joints. It’s just a good, old-fashioned cannabis product.”
Corwin, now 30, was a 17-year-old high school student when he harvested his first pot plant.
At the time, possession of marijuana was illegal—both in Corwin’s home state of New York, and where he spent his summers testing out his cultivation skills in Connecticut. It was especially illegal to grow marijuana, and it was even more illegal to grow that marijuana on your neighbor’s property without their permission, and then roll it up into joints to sell to your friends back home.
But illegal or not, Corwin said those early business ventures helped lay the foundation for the success of his cannabis brand, which is named after the location of his first growing operation.
In addition to California and Michigan, Stone Road products are also now being sold at pot shops in Oklahoma and Massachusetts—and they’re soon to be in New Mexico and Missouri.
Corwin said the customers who tend to enjoy his products the most are often older—mostly because older smokers tend to prefer old-school-style joints instead of kief-covered, berry-flavored super-spliffs. The minimalist design has also been a hit with women, he said.
As a queer-run cannabis company, Corwin said Stone Road also features diversity and inclusion among its core company values—including by featuring underrepresented models in its ads.
“The queer community has also been incredibly supportive,” Corwin added.
This article originally appeared in The MichiGanja Report, a free monthly newsletter from The ‘Gander about all things cannabis, written by political correspondent Kyle Kaminski. Click here to subscribe, and we’ll send the next edition straight to your inbox.
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