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Michigan cannabis company rolls out Lansing's first drive-through dispensary

Melorie Begay
Bazonzoes Provisions Center opened Lansing's first cannabis drive-thru June 10.

A Michigan cannabis company has opened Lansing’s first drive-through dispensary. The founder of Bazonzoes Provisioning Center said it’s a big step toward destigmatizing marijuana.

The south Lansing storefront sits between two fast food chains with a third nearby, each with drive-throughs that are both convenient and quick. That’s the vibe Bazonzoes President and Founder Anthony Virga said they’re hoping to achieve. Virga celebrated the June 10 grand opening with a ribbon cutting and live DJs.

“We’re really excited to give our patients and customers that option, not having to leave your kids somewhere you can have them in your car with you,” Virga said.

Though it’s a familiar concept, Virga said there may be a learning curve for customers using the drive-through as it’s windowless and they need to pre-order ahead of time.

Customers pull up to a monitor screen displaying live video of an employee who can verify IDs using two cameras that are pointed at the driver. A metal drawer below the screen is used for transactions.

Melorie Begay
A look at what customers of Bazonzoes will see when using their drive-thru service.

“Because it’s such a valuable product, most people at any other food drive-through aren't spending the amount of money you would at a dispensary, so we try to make it as safe as possible,” he said.

Virga says he doesn’t think the drive-through would have been possible without the pandemic’s embrace of curbside pick-up.

“Especially, recreational delivery. I never saw that coming, but it’s great … there should be less stigma around this product, we’re trying to make it more acceptable,” he said.

Melorie Begay
Bazonzoes founder and President Anthony Virga stands outside the company's third location in Michigan. The dispensary held it's grand opening June 10 and showcased Lansing's first drive-thru for a cannabis dispensary.

Permanently allowing curbside and drive-throughs were among several changes Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency made in March.

Rick Thompson is the Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws of Michigan and the owner of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Programs. Thompson was one of the first to use the drive-through and attended the grand opening.

“I look at drive-through as a symbol of the normalization of cannabis and cannabis retail use within the city of Lansing and the surrounding areas,” he said, “when we start to look like other businesses people forget that we used to be illegal and they start treating us like other businesses.”

Thompson said drive-throughs also help consumers who may be hesitant to try cannabis, or who prefer privacy. The convenience of staying in a vehicle, he adds, is also important for people with disabilities.

“This just moves us forward, moves us a little bit closer to the ideal circumstance where cannabis retailers are almost invisible,” he said.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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