When it comes to the emerging industry of cannabis, people need local companies they can trust to sell quality, safe products by fearless leaders of the national conversation surrounding the normalization and legalization of cannabis use.
Thanks to pioneers and lobbyists of the cannabis conversation like Sam Usman Jr., founder and CEO of the local dispensary Pure Options, Lansing residents are able to buy and use award-winning cannabis products.
According to Usman's LinkedIn profile, he has "assisted in lobbying state and local officials for a regulatory framework that benefits and protects all stakeholders - from patients and consumers to municipalities and the state government."
Usman graduated from Michigan State in 2005 with a Criminal Justice degree. After climbing the corporate ladder from 2006-2010, Usman realized his calling.
"What I realized is that I wanted to work for myself," Usman said.
Usman started a liquor distributing business, but six months into his venture, one of his friends sent him a 300-page business plan in Colorado to be part of a legal cannabis business. Having already had a familiarity with the cannabis industry, and being pleasantly surprised by the signs of cannabis regulation, Usman saw an opportunity.
"I had no idea that cannabis was ever going to be legal in my lifetime," Usman said. "So, as soon as I saw that, I ended up liquidating everything I had in the spirits industry and invested in cannabis."
Following the Caregivers Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, or MMMA, a law that allowed anyone who is at least 21 years old with no felonies at all within the last 10 years to be a primary caregiver, barring previous violent felonies. Usman decided to move back home to Michigan and double down on his research to understand the product better.
"I thought that Michigan was going to adopt rules like Colorado way back when, so for a good seven or eight years I bought it at the local level and at the state level drafting committee for the right ballot initiative," Usman said.
What Usman didn't realize until further research and casual conversation about cannabis, however, is the medical benefits of the plant able to help thousands of people who have issues with appetite, sleep and pain.
"That's when I decided to actually really fight for and put money behind the lobbying efforts for the regulation, testing and for all things that any other industry needs to be credible and to survive," Usman said.
Firmly believing in the safe usage of cannabis, Usman has been lobbying for cannabis reform since 2011.
As well, Usman started Pure Options in 2011 and began selling in the grey market -- where products are sold legally, but outside of original manufacturers authorization -- due to cannabis not yet being regulated; Usman eventually obtained a license to sell in 2018.
Given the large and diverse combination of Usman's entrepreneurial bug, his staff's like-minded lobbying efforts, the former Lansing Mayor Virgil Bernero's "hands-off" policies and the ever-growing acceptance of cannabis, Usman was able to jump through many hoops to turn Pure Options into a top-tier dispensary.
So... what is Pure Options?
Pure Options is a dispensary with five locations, three of which being in Lansing that sells award-winning products such as their strands Moonbow, Rainbow Belt and Garlic Breath, which won top three in this years Cannabis Cup Michigan.
"We're known for having some of the best cannabis in the state" Usman said. "By default, if you have really good flower, your concentrates are good."
What really makes Pure Options special, according to Usman, is their staff's philosophy.
"We have a lot of people who have fought for the industry, and we want to highlight them as much as we possibly can," Usman said. "versus some of the other conglomerates that have come in and tried to dictate where the industry should go not knowing anything about the culture or not having fought for it in any way, shape or form."
Pure Options is not just a dispensary that saw the cannabis industry rising and capitalized on the opportunity to make substantial money: They were part of the grassroots effort.
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With flashy licensing deals like EDM artist and former MSU student Grizz playing in Pure Options large parking lot on opening weekend, Pure Options is in a spectacular spot to continue to grow.
However, with Usman growing up in the area and being a former student himself, he would like to grow a relationship with the school and wants students to know he is looking out for MSU alumni on resumes.
"If you're a good person, you work hard, we've got a place for you," Usman said.
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