In February 2018, Eric Parkhurst spent a weekend camped outside City Hall in a snowstorm. As a registered medical marijuana caregiver for his wife, Becca, and others, he was already growing pot in a former cat sanctuary at the corner of Winewood and Maple, but a drive was underway to permit recreational use. The city would take applications the next Monday from businesses that wanted to sell directly to consumers–and if another nearby business applied before him, he figured he might never get another chance.

Parkhurst was second in line and got his application–but had second thoughts when he found that getting the required state licenses would cost something like $168,000 a year.

Those fees have since come down, he says, as more retailers open and the cost of administering the state regulatory system is more widely distributed. But Parkhurst chose a different path: Winewood Organics is the county’s first “marijuana microbusiness.”

The newly created category limits the number of plants he can grow, and he can sell only what he grows or produces directly to consumers–but the annual licensing fee is just $8,000.

“Anything with THC in it was grown on-site,” says Parkhurst, in a snug waiting room off the sales floor. Any products, “like an extract or an edible, those are also made here,” he says. “So we don’t wholesale any product out, and we don’t bring in any products.” And, unlike growers who raise their crops hydroponically, he uses organic compost from an outfit in mid-Michigan.

Buds of varieties like Slurricane, Orange Push Pop, and Big House OG run $30-$55 per eighth of an ounce. “Pre-rolls” ($20-$26 for two) are made entirely with flower–no “trim” or “shake” from other parts of the plant, Parkhurst says. He also sells vape cartridges, and plans to make his first edibles this month.

Parkhurst says his limited-volume organic products cost a little more, but customers can tell the difference. They also like buying from a small-scale local grower. Parkhurst and retail manager Marcus Huber work long hours, so either or both will almost always be on hand.

Winewood Organics, 2494 Winewood Ave. No phone. Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Pot stores aren’t just popping up like coffeehouses–they’re replacing coffeehouses. In September, New Standard opened in a former house on N. Main that was converted to retail use a few years ago by the short-lived Electric Eye Cafe.

One of eight shops in a growing Michigan chain, New Standard Ann Arbor sells flower, pre-rolls, vape cartridges, concentrates, tinctures, edibles, and balms. Manager Coleman LaBarr says most of the product comes from a farm in mid-Michigan near Beaverton.

“We have curated, quality products and an educated team of bud tenders,” LaBarr says. In October they really hadn’t established a market niche yet, but their best-selling products were Element “live resin” concentrates ($55 a gram).

“Try us, and you’ll be back,” LaBarr promises.

New Standard Ann Arbor, 811 N. Main, (734) 372-0420. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

JARS Cannabis recently opened two Ann Arbor stores, on S. Main and Packard. Their categories: flower, pre-rolls, vape cartridges, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. They also sell baked goods and gummies.

“People are audibly enjoying the relaxed nature of our store,” says Storm Carlton, inventory manager at the S. Main location.

“The Ann Arbor market is oversaturated,” Carlton says, and “most of our customers are older than younger.” Based in Royal Oak, JARS has a dozen locations in Michigan and Arizona, with ten more under development. The one at Packard and Platt replaces the Blue Apple gas station and convenience store.

JARS Ann Arbor, 450 S. Main, (734) 526-1100. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 3005 Packard, (734) 489-6680.