09/13/22

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Michigan State’s Independent Voice

LIVING LOCAL The Ins & Outs of Greater Lansing

Bad Annie’s Sweary Goods owner Summer Schrinerer, 44, poses for a photo in her storefront in Old Town in Lansing on Sept. 8. Schrinerer has been in this location for about three years and encourages others to visit Old Town. “Old Town is an amazing community … There’s something for everyone,” Schrinerer said. Photo by Annie Barker - SEE MORE ON PAGE 5

CITY

CAMPUS

CULTURE

A recent timeline of activism at the state Capitol Building

Ali Easley’s road from Crown Boxing Club head coach to MSU professor

‘Apple Store aesthetic for marijuana’: Stigma has faded at EL’s dispensaries

Like any capitol building, state or otherwise, the lawn and steps of Michigan’s has been the scene of countless demonstrations in the past 143 years.

Filled with champion belts, newspaper features and vintage boxing posters, the gym became his home.

“I think that the more that we see the laws change, the more that the stigma will start to subside,” Lansing cannabis worker said, Leslie Pinder.

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T HE STAT E NEWS

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Vol. 113 | No. 3

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2022 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SaMya Overall

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MSU fans cheer for the first game of the season at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 2. The Spartans beat the Broncos with a score of 35-13. Photo by Audrey Richardson

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A RECENT TIMELINE OF ACTIVISM AT THE STATE CAPITOL BUILDING By Maggie George mgeorge@statenews.com

Lansing was adopted at Michigan’s state capitol in 1847 – following in the footsteps of the state’s original legislative heart, Detroit. The Michigan Capitol Building, located at 100 N Capitol Ave. in Lansing, was opened in 1879. Like any capitol building, state or otherwise, the lawn and steps of Michigan’s has been the scene of countless demonstrations in the past 143 years. In recent years, those demonstrations have become increasingly frequent. The State News has compiled some demonstration highlights from the last few years:

APRIL 30, 2020

Amidst the chaos and economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals in support of ending the stay-at-home order gathered in front of the Capitol Building to demonstrate their beliefs. As the crowd attempted to enter the building, they were restricted due to social distancing guidelines. Signs read “Michigan needs to open up, not lock down” and “The Constitution has NOT been suspended”. This protest, while advertised as a demonstration to express a lack of support for stay-at-home orders, attracted a varying range of political movements. Protesters carried signs and wore apparel in support of former U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as anti-abortion rhetoric and imagery.

JUNE 3, 2020

In response to the brutal police violence that

People march at the protest in Lansing against police brutality May 31, 2020. Photo by Annie Barker

killed several Black individuals, namely Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, protesters demonstrated against police violence by participating in a march. It started at the Michigan Capitol, traveled down Michigan Avenue and returned to the steps of the Capitol Building. Chants heard during the protest included “I can’t breathe,” “Loosen my handcuffs please” and “Stop killing me.” All of these phrases were the words spoken by George Floyd as a confrontation with police escalated resulting in his murder by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Caught on video, this confrontation circled the world and

Protestors gather on the steps of the Capitol at the Operation Gridlock protest April 15, 2020 in Lansing. STATE NEWS FILE

inspired the group Black Lives Matter to mobilize and gain new supporters and traction.

their support.

JUNE 29, 2020

Closer to home in Grand Rapids a Black man named Patrick Lyoya was killed at the hands of the Grand Rapids Police Department after a traffic stop. Lyoya was a refugee of the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing a language barrier during the confrontation. The Capitol protest that followed stood on the platform of radical police reform or the defunding of the police. Over two years after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, protestors expressed their exhaustion with continuing to watch Black people be targeted by the police.

As the topic of police brutality sparked a very emotional response in so many people, protests about the topic continued. In the same month, Black Lives Matter began to demonstrate for the defunding of police on the Capitol lawn. At this particular protest held at the Capitol, organizations such as Black The Vote and Firecracker Foundation also joined. Criminal justice professor Jennifer Cobbina-Dungy said she saw these protests as some of the most impactful in recent years. “The impactful protests I’ve seen pertain to Black Lives Matters and anti-police violence,” Cobbina-Dungy said. “Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives, One Love Global and a number of grassroots organizations have shown up a number of times to protest police violence, especially on Black and Brown people.”

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TU ESDAY, SEPTEMBE R 13, 2022

MAY 3, 2022

Following controversy surrounding 2020 Presidential election, supporters of Trump organized at the Michigan Capitol to further their cause. They believed that ordering a “full, forensic audit” of the election would reveal that the former president had earned majority electoral votes and therefore lead to reinstating him as president. Some notable figures in attendance of this event include current Michigan Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno and Michigan State Rep. candidate Melissa Carone.

As the school year closed for MSU, constitutional upheaval struck the nation. A draft majority opinion of the Supreme Court showed that five out of nine justices were in favor of upholding a Mississippi law for restrictive abortion access, thus overruling landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey that had protected abortion rights across the country for decades. This news struck a chord with the abortion rights activists of the state. In Michigan specifically, a law from 1931 that entirely criminalizes abortion came under fire from abortion activists. Protesters took to the steps of the Capitol wielding signs that said “Protect safe, legal abortion.” provided by Planned Parenthood, “Abortion is Healthcare” and images of hangers with “Never Again” written on them.

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APRIL 21, 2022

The 2020 presidential election between President Joe Biden and Trump spiraled out of control when politicians, activists and government officials began speculating that the election was cheated in support of Biden. As a result, rioters incited a violent insurrection of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. In response, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the Michigan Army National Guard, and the Michigan State Police increased their presence around the state Capitol Building. A small crowd of protestors gathered at the building a little more than a week later – many armed with firearms. However, no large-scale violence occurred.

MARCH 20, 2022

In late February, Russia invaded the Ukrainian border. This world event struck a chord with members of the MSU community and the country as a whole. A Stand with Ukraine rally was held at the Michigan State Capitol on March 20 to show support for Ukrainians suffering through an invasion. Cries of “Slava Ukraini,” or “Glory to Ukraine” in English, were heard throughout the streets leading up to the Capitol lawn. Protestors carried Ukrainian flags to further the point of

The previous school year brought several heartbreaking cases of gun violence in schools. In Michigan, residents felt the pain caused by the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford. Because of this and other events, March for Our Lives encouraged a worldwide protest against gun violence. This worldwide event found its way onto the Capitol lawn. Students have watched their schools undergo a transformation to become more secure, as well as their parents, teachers and other community members, gathered to express their frustration with this ongoing problem.

JUNE 24, 2022

At the end of June, the SCOTUS released its decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, initiating an emotionally charged political atmosphere. Bans Off Our Body organized an event at the Capitol and featured Gov. Gretchen Whitmer among other politicians such as Rep. Lori Pohutsky, Sen. Curtis Hertel and Chief Medical Officer Sarah Wallet. “We rallied at the Capitol and collected many signatures for the reproductive freedom for all ballot initiative,” President of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at MSU Kattiah Richardson said.

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CI T Y Loyalty Barbershop owner Alex Dominguez, 28, right, cuts the hair of patron Aaron Valdez, 41, left, in Old Town in Lansing on Sept. 8. This is Valdez’s first time trying this barbershop as he got a recommendation from his brother. Dominguez says Old Town is the heart of the Art District. “If you give Lansing a shot you can find some cool spots,” Dominguez said. The barbershop also offers beer to patrons 21 and older. “Bring your ID,” Dominguez said.

A PEEK OF OLD TOWN LANSING By Annie Barker abarker@statenews.com

Erik Olson, 24, plays guitar in Old Town in Lansing on Sept. 8. Olson said he comes out often on sunny afternoons. Musicians strumming or singing in the streets are a common occurrence in the area.

Community members sit by the Grand River and Brenke Fish Ladder in Old Town in Lansing on Sept. 8.

A mural in Old Town on Sept. 8.

East Lansing-area farmer’s markets: Finding community on a budget By Lily Guiney lguiney@statenews.com Farmer’s markets are having a moment. From food vloggers posting their hauls to your grandma and her friends having a weekend outing, they’ve got something for everyone. Even if you aren’t on ‘cottagecore’ TikTok or someone with an NPR tote bag, making the switch to shopping at a local farmer’s market can be a fun, healthy change – and it doesn’t have to break the bank. The East Lansing area has several options for people looking to add sustainable or organic food to their shopping routine. East Lansing Farmer’s Market manager Karla Forrest-Hewitt said deciding to go to the farmer’s market over supermarkets like Meijer or Target can bring people closer to their community. “One of the important things about markets in general is that it’s a place for you to connect with your community,” Forrest-Hewitt said. ”Especially for students who just moved to East Lansing for the first time.” Both Forrest-Hewitt and Jenny

Wagemann, director of the Allen Farmer’s Market, said the idea that farmer’s markets are inherently pricier than shopping at a big box store is a common misconception. “People think that the farmer’s market is so much more expensive, but it’s not,” Wagemann said. “I think that’s just a facade of some sort that people just imagine. But the quality is better, you’re supporting local, it tastes better.” Think that this sounds like a good option for you? Here’s a few tools for making the most of your next farmer’s market trip while staying budget-friendly.

PLAN AHEAD

One of the easiest ways to make any shopping trip more cost-effective is to make a list of what you need before leaving the house. Treat the farmer’s market like any other grocery store and make a physical list before you go to prevent overspending. Wagemann said making a plan like this will keep you from buying things you don’t need or that are out of your budget. “The best way for anybody to shop on a budget is by planning,” Wagemann said. “So if they could plan for their

week and look up the recipes and go to the farmer’s market with an actual list of what it is that they want, then I think that’s the best way to eat on a budget.” Social relations and policy junior Mallory Debono, a weekly farmer’s market shopper, said that it’s also important to come prepared with multiple types of payment, just in case a vendor only accepts a certain form. “Make sure you bring cash, because a lot of them don’t take cards,” Debono said.

CONSIDER QUALITY

While sticker prices for produce might be higher at some farmer’s markets, it’s important to keep in mind you’re paying for a fresher product. Wagemann said that the longevity you’ll get from farmer’s market produce makes it worth the extra cents you might pay. “The food stays better longer because it’s fresher,” Debono said. “It’s picked when it’s actually ripe, so it tastes better. I just feel like my food goes a lot further than it used to when I went to just the grocery store.” Debono and her roommate try to buy as much of their produce as they can at the East Lansing market. Like

Wagemann, she said she feels like she’s getting a better product for the price at farmer’s markets. “It’s healthier overall, because it’s straight from a farm,” Debono said. “There’s a lot fewer of those preservatives and stuff that you sometimes find in, like, the grocery store produce.”

TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES

Before you write off the farmer’s market as too far away from your dorm or off-campus apartment, take time to learn about alternative transportation. If you don’t have a car, the East Lansing Farmer’s Market is a great option to walk or bike to from campus – it’s located in Valley Court Park, just behind Crunchy’s. In fact, the East Lansing Farmer’s Market is closer to campus than the nearest Meijer or Walmart locations. “Where we’re located is not too far,” Forrest-Hewitt said. “So you don’t have to travel too far to get your produce.” If the Allen Market is calling your name but gas prices aren’t, the market offers pedicab transportation for shop-til-you-drop market goers to a satellite parking lot closer to campus on Michigan Avenue. T U ES DAY, S E PT E MBE R 1 3, 2022

KNOW YOUR VENDORS

Becoming a farmer ’s market regular can be a good way to keep ever ything within your budget. The more you go, the more familiar you’ll be with the market’s vendors a nd t he i r pr ic e s. Wa ge m a n n recommends Hillcrest Farms produce and Stone Circle Bakehouse as go-to’s. Forrest-Hewitt suggests Wildflower Eco Farms for organic, non-GMO products. Knowing the vendors at your farmer’s market isn’t just practical. It’s a way to build relationships and, if you have anxiety about social situations, a good way to remove the stress from your shopping trip. “The sense of community is huge,” Wagemann said. “And I think it’s something that especially the past few years, people are really craving again, and a farmers market is such a safe space for you to go to.” The East Lansing Farmer’s Market runs on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 30. The Allen Farmer’s Market is open Wednesdays yearround from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a change in October to 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Both markets accept SNAP/EBT payments. STATEN EWS.CO M

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FROM KINDERGARTEN TO COLLEGE: ALI EASLEY’S ROAD MSU students talk transition from locals to students By Vivian Barrett vbarrett@statenews.com Jumping up and down in the Izzone, devouring endless food at the Brody cafeteria and getting ice cream from the Dairy Store, no matter how cold it is outside: These are staple activities for Michigan State University students, but they are also experiences some students have had long before their freshman year. Professional and public writing senior Kyla Chamberlain lived in East Lansing for the majority of her childhood and grew up attending Haslett schools. As a local, Chamberlain said she has a special connection to MSU. “When the students come in, we kind of feel like we run the place,” Chamberlain said. “We kind of feel like we have ownership and we feel at home here.” For some locals, attending Michigan State is the obvious choice. When education junior Kelly Burzych graduated from Okemos High School, she knew she wanted to go to MSU for its top education program — and to follow in her family’s footsteps. “MSU’s also in my blood,” Burzych said. “Everyone in my family went there.” Psychology junior Angela Mothersell, who also graduated from Okemos High School, felt strongly about coming to MSU. She said she never wanted to go anywhere else. “I just love it, it’s home,” Mothersell said. “I grew up here, I love the environment. I’ve always wanted to be a Spartan, my whole family went here. It’s just a great community.” Being only 15 minutes away from home can make it feel like you’re not experiencing anything completely new, but it can also be an advantage, Burzych said. Not only does it make moving easier, but a hug or a home-cooked meal is just down the road. Staying near home and being close to family was one of the reasons Chamberlain returned to East Lansing after spending her freshman year at the University of Alabama. “Multiple times a week I have dinner with my dad, and I’ll visit my mom and spend time with my little brother and I’ll see my pets,” Chamberlain said. “It’s really nice to have home so close to campus.” When going to college in your hometown, many student traditions may be things you have already experienced. However, for local students like Mothersell, becoming a student changes how a lot of these experiences feel. “I obviously grew up a Michigan State fan and going to games,” Mothersell said. “But I feel way more part of the community now that I actually go here.” Burzych said she felt a similar change when she became a student. Instead of seeing MSU’s campus as a fun place to visit or a place to watch sports games, she now views campus as her school. Mathematics sophomore Michael Cherry, who grew up in Charlotte and attended Lansing schools, said he feels more involved in campus culture and activities since becoming a student. “You’re not watching from the outside,” Cherry said. “Like being in the student section and going to classes instead of just events around campus.” Another advantage for local students is having a better knowledge of campus than other students. Grand Ledge native and microbiology junior Addy Walia said 6

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Education junior Kelly Burzych stands in between her siblings Mary Kay and Jay for a photo at the Spartan Statue on a visit in 2006. Burzych has been a local to the Greater Lansing area her entire life, and now goes to Michigan State University. Courtesy Photo from Kelly Burzych

even when he’s not in school, he is in East Lansing almost every day. “I know MSU like the back of my hand,” Walia said. “It’s a really familiar spot.” With so many years spent in East Lansing and the surrounding cities, local students know a lot of hidden gems on and near campus. Walia said one of his favorite places to go since childhood is the NCG Cinema, located in the Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing. Burzych said her favorite on-campus coffee spots are Blue Owl Coffee and Foster Coffee, both located on Albert Avenue. She also said she loves to eat at Sansu, a sushi restaurant located on Hagadorn Road in Hannah Plaza. Tast y Twist, a local ice cream shop located on Grand River Avenue, is one of Mothersell’s favorite East Lansing locations.

“I know MSU like the back of my hand,” Walia said. “It’s a really familiar spot.” Addy Walia Microbiology junior “It’s fun and it’s so easy to go to,” Mothersell said. “And then you can sit in the little outside area and just talk. And it’s cheap, which is nice.” Chamberlain said she frequents several local farmer’s markets held in Lansing every week. She also said her friends and family take a yearly trip to Uncle TU ESDAY, SEPTEM BE R 13, 2022

John’s Cider Mill in the fall. The cider mill is located in St. Johns and features fresh donuts and cider along with daily activities. While MSU’s campus is filled with things to do and places to go, Mothersell said she wishes more students would venture outside of East Lansing to see what the Greater Lansing area has to offer. “I feel like if more people went into Lansing, they would realize that it’s actually pretty nice,” Mothersell said. “It’d be fun if students went to Lugnuts games because they are a lot of fun and it gets you into the city.” experiencing anything completely new, but it can also be an advantage, Burzych said. Not only does it make moving easier, but a hug or a home-cooked meal is just down the road. Staying near home and being close to family was one of the reasons Chamberlain returned to East Lansing after spending her freshman year at the University of Alabama. “Multiple times a week I have dinner with my dad, and I’ll visit my mom and spend time with my little brother and I’ll see my pets,” Chamberlain said. “It’s really nice to have home so close to campus.” When going to college in your hometown, many student traditions may be things you have already experienced. However, for local students like Mothersell, becoming a student changes how a lot of these experiences feel. “I obviously grew up a Michigan State fan and going to games,” Mothersell said. “But I feel way more part of the community now that I actually go here.” Burzych said she felt a similar change when she became a student. Instead of seeing MSU’s campus as a fun place to visit or a place to watch sports games, she now views campus as her school. Mathematics sophomore Michael Cherry, who grew up in Charlotte and attended Lansing schools, said he feels more involved in campus culture and activities since becoming a student. “You’re not watching from the outside,” Cherry said. “Like being in the student section and going to classes instead of just events around campus.” Another advantage for local students is having a better knowledge of campus than other students. Grand Ledge native and microbiology junior Addy Walia said even when he’s not in school, he is in East Lansing almost every day. “I know MSU like the back of my hand,” Walia said. “It’s a really familiar spot.” With so many years spent in East Lansing and the surrounding cities, local students know a lot of hidden gems on and near campus. Walia said one of his favorite places to go since childhood is the NCG Cinema, located in the Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing. Burzych said her favorite on-campus coffee spots are Blue Owl Coffee and Foster Coffee, both located on Albert Avenue. She also said she loves to eat at Sansu, a sushi restaurant located on Hagadorn Road in Hannah Plaza. Tast y Twist, a local ice cream shop located on Grand River Avenue, is one of Mothersell’s favorite East Lansing locations. “It’s fun and it’s so easy to go to,” Mothersell said. “And then you can sit in the little outside area and just talk. And it’s cheap, which is nice.”

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FROM HEAD COACH TO PROFESSOR

By Ashley Zhou azhou@statenews.com

MSU faculty member, father and “Coach” Ali Easley began his boxing passion with his childhood neighbor, kickboxing and doing martial arts together. Easley said, to them, it didn’t seem like a sport or lifelong passion, but just two young boys play fighting. In the front yard practicing moves in a karate uniform, Easley’s cousin stopped him and said, “You think you really know what you’re doing? You should come to the boxing gym with me.” Just t hen, Easley was convinced to go to his first boxing gym in downtown Pittsburgh. “I remember we were walking up the steps, and the boxing gym was on the second floor of an old warehouse,” Easley said. “I’m hearing this ‘duh duh duh duh,’ and I couldn’t figure out what the sound was. I get to the top of the steps, he opened the door and just the whole place came to life.” Easley’s 11-year-old eyes darted across the gym and saw big, shirtless athletes furiously hitting speed bags. He quickly was matched to spar with a young boy around his size. “From that day forward I said, ‘Okay I get it. I think this is the real sport,’” Easley said. Discovering his life’s work Easley moved to mid-Michigan to teach at Lansing Community College and Michigan State University, and never stopped his passion for boxing. In 1998, he took over the reins at Lansing’s local boxing gym, Crown Boxing, for competitive training, student boxing courses and beginner adult and youth classes. Filled with champion belts, newspaper features and vintage boxing posters, the gym became his home. Easley also began Help a Willing Kid Foundation, or H AW K , a non-prof it organization that combined elements of boxing and a safe place to help underprivileged a nd i mpover ished yout h in the community.

As faculty advisor for Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity, Easley brought Teach for America and HAWK together to tutor children, have MSU culinary students cook and prepare food for the youth, and offer laundry facilities and showers – all within the walls of Crown Boxing Club. “My work here with the kids, the boxing and the community, is like my life’s work,” Easley said. “This is something that I established to better the community, foster a learning environment for kids and … hopefully this continues to grow and have the same mission and helping people that it has today.” “Coach” to professor On top of HAWK and coaching at Crown Boxing, Easley teaches over eight varying levels of boxing courses at MSU. Before beginning class each semester, Easley reminds the students of the worldclass facility they will work in. Although some courses are catered towards beginner students, the quality and rigor of class time aren’t downplayed compared to competitive athletes’ daily sessions. “Instead you have to raise up a little bit to the standards that we have,” Easley said. “Anybody can do it. It’s just once they make their mind up they’re either going to put the effort in or they’re going to say, ‘Ah, I don’t want that,’ and they’re going to quit.” At the end of each semester, he requires every student to write a one-page opinion paper. Throughout their essays, most students write about how great it felt to be involved in a sports environment or the discipline, energy and effort they received from the class. “Those that stick it out, like I said, they learn more about themselves in this class and they make more friends in this class than they will in any other class,” Easley said. After taking Easley’s MSU course, public policy junior Andrew Schulman, kinesiology

MSU faculty member and head boxing coach Ali Easley at Crown Boxing Club on Sept. 8. Photo by Sheldon Krause


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junior Ethan Mostyn and psychology senior Julia Diskin returned to the gym for a sweaty and intense open workout session. “He’s as legit as it gets in terms of a coach and facility,” Schulman said. “He doesn’t put up with bull----.” “Zero tole r a nc e ,” Mostyn said. “No coming to class late,” Schulman said. “No taking breaks when you’re not allowed to unless you’re yakking. That’s what he’ll tell you on the first day.” Even as beginners, Easley coaches students on proper boxing training, Schulman and Mostyn said. At 6:40 p.m. sharp, Easley stepped into the boxing ring to begin class while students sat on blue wooden benches that surrounded the ring. As soon as he heard the back door creak, notifying him of a student walking in late, Easley stopped his speech and paced around the ring as the student nimbly found a seat amongst the silent and wide-eyed students. “If you’re not on time for this particular course you’re not only hurting yourself, but you’re hurting your team as well,” Easley said. “If you want to be successful and you want to respect the

team that’s here, you need to be on time too … If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, then you’re on time.” Although classes are filled to the brim with upwards of 200 students, Easley always remembers each student’s name through intimate interactions in the coachto-student environment. “Sometimes when you fill out those surveys and it says, ‘The professor relates to me as a person,’ and people put ‘Inferior,’ because they think this is his gym, it’s my way or the highway,” Easley said. “Which is the rule, but then I ask you this question: ‘How many professors in your entire time at school know you, know your name, know your tendencies, know you better than you think they know you?’ And that’s the relationship I have with the students, and I think a lot of them are quite surprised at that.” Through Easley’s 30-plus years in coaching, he’s learned from his former st udents t hat ret ur n to the gym as ringside physicians or referees for competitive events.

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‘Apple Store aesthetic for marijuana’: Stigma has faded at EL’s dispensaries

Courtesy of Leslie Pinder

By Alex Walters awalters@statenews.com When asked if they think people judge them differently as budtenders as opposed to bartenders, Elayne Curry and Isaiah Robinson, employees at two East Lansing dispensaries, said the stigma surrounding marijuana is fading. “I definitely do think there is still a stigma, but not so much

as there used to be,” Robinson said. “Now, this is some people’s medicine. It’s not all about just getting blazed and sitting around ordering pizzas.” Robinson is an assistant sales manager at Pincanna, one of the four major dispensaries that have opened in East Lansing since Michigan legalized marijuana in 2018. These retail stores offer pipes, dabs, vapes, joints, edibles, topicals and more to customers over 21. Each location is successful due to employees who work to connect customers to the products that will help them the most. “It’s fun getting new people in,” Curry said. “You have older people that are trying it for the first time that really don’t know the difference between sativa or indica. So it’s really cool trying to help them find out what’s a good product for them amongst all the ones that we have.” Robinson said the curated dispensary experience is similar to an “Apple Store aesthetic for marijuana.” A diverse clientele can find whatever they are looking for in this environment. “I see all types of people

from different backgrounds and everything like that,” Robinson said. “Marijuana just brings people together.” Leslie Pinder cur rent ly works in the wholesale side of the industry at Franklin Fields Cannabis in Lansing. She has previously done cultivation and trim at a local cannabis farm in Lansing, visual merchandising for another local dispensary and worked as a budtender and store manager at Skymint East Lansing. “After my time with Skymint, I really wanted to take a step back from the corporate side of cannabis. My ideologies didn’t really align with that side of things,” Pinder said. “I’m a supporter of micro-grows, mom-and-pop shops and the caregiver market.” Pinder said there are certain issues with corporate cannabis that East Lansing consumers should look out for. “They’re running very large operations, and it is very difficult to control certain microbes or plant health issues,” Pinder said. “What ends up happening is, they remediate the product, which could be through dipping in hydrogen peroxide.”

T U ES DAY, S E PT E MBE R 1 3, 2022

The State of Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency, wh ic h t a sk s it s e l f w it h “stimulating business growth while preserving safe consumer access to cannabis,” currently does not require cannabis companies to disclose their practices on products being sold online or at dispensaries. Pinder said those looking for the best dispensary experience should try small independent farms and stores, like those found in Lansing. She also said she had positive experiences at Pincanna. Pinder agrees with her corporate cannabis counterparts on the industry’s gradual move into the mainstream. “I have quite a few family members who live in Indiana and Indiana is a relatively conservative state, especially with their cannabis laws ... I’ve really noticed even my own family asking questions, opening up,” Pinder said. “They’re entertaining the idea of trying CBD, which isn’t psychoactive, but it is still a part of the plant. So I do see that shift happening. … I think that the more that we see the laws change, the more that the stigma will start to subside.”

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