Welcome to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, two charming sister cities in southeastern Michigan, located outside Detroit and only about an hour from the Canadian border. If you're a cannabis enthusiast looking for a unique cannabis-friendly travel experience, these two cities should definitely be on your list!
The Rich Cannabis History of Ann Arbor & Ypsi
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have been at the forefront of cannabis activism since the 1960s when they became known as hubs for hippies and counterculture movements. The city of Ann Arbor even passed Michigan's first marijuana decriminalization law in 1972, making possession of small amounts of cannabis a civil infraction (literally a $5 fine) rather than a criminal offence.
This paved the way for the famous Hash Bash, a pro-cannabis event held on the University of Michigan campus every April since 1972. This event attracts thousands of visitors every year, and the guest list includes notable figures such as Tommy Chong, John Sinclair, and Jack Herer!
Today, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti continue to embrace their cannabis-friendly reputation. In 2018, Michigan voters passed the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. This has made Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti even more popular destinations for cannabis tourism, with a thriving industry of microbusinesses, events, and plenty of experiences catering to local and international cannabis enthusiasts.
The John Sinclair Freedom Rally Mural in Downtown Ann Arbor
You must check out the dynamic and colourful mural, which features John Sinclair, a poet and political activist, who was arrested in 1969 for the possession of two joints. He was eventually released from prison after a massive campaign led by John Lennon and Yoko Ono! The mural celebrates Sinclair's release and the power of activism in the cannabis community. Interestingly John Sinclair was one of the first people to purchase recreational cannabis when it became legal in Michigan.
You can visit one of the many cannabis dispensaries in the area. I popped into two highly recommended shops, Mission Cannabis and House of Evolution, in Ann Arbor. Mission Cannabis features a massive exotic plant wall and an expansive menu that includes edibles like 100mg cinnamon toast rice krispie treats, packs of infused breath mints, and infused dark chocolate espresso beans!
House of Evolution Provisioning Center is a cute house with a welcoming presence and a massive selection of flower. Plus, when you sign up for their loyalty program, you can get a free 100mg Evolution gummie and a pre-roll for a penny! Both have super friendly staff who welcomed this Canadian into their shops and shared with me some upcoming cannabis events and must-sees in the area.
Winewood Organics Dispo and Grow
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have "microbusinesses" that grow, process, and sell cannabis in the same location. These small businesses are new in Michigan and growing in popularity. Winewood Organics is a recreational retail shop attached to a robust indoor grow space with processing rooms for hand-trimming and a kitchen to craft exquisite edibles, concentrates, and hash. A big sign on the building boasts "Grown here. Sold here." next to a gorgeous mural. Walking up to the door, I immediately experienced gentle wafts of the dank flower grown inside. If you have never smelled a weed farm, you must experience walking inside Winewood.
The shop itself had lots of exquisite flower samples to see and smell. Their creative strain menu was displayed from heavy indicas to energetic sativas. It included delightfully pungent strains like Lemon Slushee, Cherry Malawai, Durban Poison, Han Solo Burger, Gelato Grape Pie, Peanut Butter Breath, and Fried Apples. This curated selection of flowers has something for everyone.
I picked up the bright and delicious-smelling Lemon Slushee, a sativa-leaning hybrid. It really tasted like lemon with hints of melon or guava, and the terpenes were off the charts mouthwatering. I was so impressed with their quality, selection, edibles menu, hash bar, extracts, and potent smells wafting from the grow rooms I asked for a tour! Owner and Master Grower Eric met me the next day and took me around the facility to see how the magic happens. You can hear about my adventure experiencing the local magic of Winewood Organics in this episode of The Smoking Spot Podcast. They also livestream their grow rooms on a screen in the lobby (and on their website) so you can watch the plants from start to harvest!
Finally, don't forget to mark your calendar for the annual Hash Bash! This legendary event brings together cannabis lovers from all over the world for a day of celebration, activism, and community. It has become a symbol of the cannabis activist movement in Ann Arbor, drawing thousands of visitors each year to protest for the legalization of marijuana and celebrate the plant's community and culture. Whether you're a seasoned smoker or just curious about cannabis, the Hash Bash is an experience you won't want to miss.
Low Budget Munchies
After you smoke some local flavour, you can spend the afternoon enjoying the sunny patio at Argus Farm Stop and Cafe. They have lots of fresh produce and delicious treats. Plus, a charming collection of locally made souvenirs to remember your visit! Or if you find yourself downtown, pop into Zingerman's Deli and get one of the best homemade pickles in town!
Big City Small World Bakery offers organic treats of all kinds made from locally sourced ingredients! This bohemian cafe has the best vibes and will definitely satisfy your sweet or savoury munchies.
Or treat yourself to a full day of luxury, and drive over to Detroit's historic bathhouse, The Schvitz. This urban health club offers restorative holistic therapies like heat massage and skin treatments and has a steam room, soaking pool, and sauna for you to unwind and relax for hours.
Where Can I Toke (and other legalities)
Adult use (21+) of recreational cannabis and possession was legalized in Michigan in 2018. You cannot smoke in public places, but can smoke on private property, such as your home. You can buy up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrate products per day, which is also the maximum you're allowed to carry on your person.
Whether you're looking to learn about the history of cannabis activism in Michigan, explore dispensaries and craft cannabis, or attend one of the biggest cannabis events in the world, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have something for everyone. So why not plan your next trip to discover all the fun and intrigue that this cannabis tourism destination has to offer? These are truly unique cities that have a rich history, thriving cannabis industry, and fascinating blend of activism, and cannabis culture.