At the first ever Green Market Report Michigan Cannabis Business Summit in Detroit on Sept. 6, we recognized some of the stellar industry players with the GMR Michigan Cannabis Awards.
The winner of Top Dispensary was PUFF Cannabis Co., a four-year-old marijuana company that has grown into a 12-store chain with aspirations to expand beyond Michigan’s borders.
Company president and founder Justin Elias said that PUFF has no desire to be acquired by a larger business – as is the aim of many startups – but rather that he envisions making PUFF into a “household name for marijuana in every state, not just Michigan.”
“We’re in this long-term. We’re not here for a buy-out,” Elias said, adding that if all goes to plan, PUFF will have at least 20 store locations in Michigan by the third quarter of 2024. He also said the company is looking into expansion opportunities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey.
Elias, an industry veteran who began in the medical marijuana business in 2013 before launching PUFF in 2019, said what drew him to the trade was seeing how much help cannabis provided the seriously ill, from cancer patients to those with Parkinson’s or epilepsy.
“The aspect of knowing that it helps so many people on the medical side. It helps with so many problems that people have,” Elias said. “It’s really a replacement to prescription drugs.”
Elias said his proudest achievement to date with PUFF is how successful the company has been, and how much it’s given back to the various towns in which it does business.
“Having over 500 employees, a very well operated brand, and a healthy company. We generate a lot of revenue for the state of Michigan. We do a lot of charity work for all the cities we operate in,” Elias said.
The biggest challenges?
“Just the fluctuation, the ups and downs of the industry overall, and being able to adapt rapidly and several times throughout the year,” Elias said.