Only Alien Cannabis Lounge Kzoo

Thanks to Mlive for this:

KALAMAZOO, MI — Growing, buying and smoking cannabis legally inside a Michigan business was an alien concept during marijuana’s decades of prohibition.

But it’s happening today in Kalamazoo, and anyone 21 and older is welcome.

A cannabis consumption lounge has opened in Kalamazoo — only the third in Michigan to open. The business is called Only Alien Cannabis Co., which opened earlier this month at 4525 West KL Ave.

It’s similar to a bar, but with marijuana instead of alcohol.

One co-owner, Royal Laraway IV, lit a joint for demonstration purposes and puffed smoke into the air during an interview with MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette on Thursday, Feb. 22.

“It makes me tick,” Laraway said about the plant.

He has grown it for years, Laraway said, since medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan nearly two decades ago.

Only Alien will work to fill a niche in the market, growing small, hand-trimmed batches on site with a focus on quality, Laraway said, while cultivating a unique experience for visitors.

It’s a microgrow, dispensary and lounge, all in one.

“You can be yourself here,” Laraway said. “That’s what Only Alien stands for.”

Sunlight illuminated the cannabis cloud next to a large front window Thursday morning, where customers can sit at barstools and face the bustling street and sidewalk.

Speakers pumped a pulsating electronic sound into the industrial space, Thursday.

Only Alien’s four co-owners are Laraway, who’s head of cultivation and a managing partner; General Manager Marty Webber; George Webber; and Managing Partner Gabe Barham.

“We are a Class A Microgrow with a consumption lounge on site,” Barham said. It’s the first of its kind in Michigan with those licenses types in place at the same address, he said.


Only two other businesses in Michigan have licenses for on-site marijuana consumption: Hot Box Social in Hazel Park and Kalkushka Lounge in Kalkaska.

But Only Alien is the only place that also has a license to grow cannabis on site.

The consumption lounge, sales floor and grow operation opened its doors to the public in mid-February. There have already been some fun nights, with people coming to celebrate the new business, Webber said.

Space-themed murals cover the walls in a sleek seating area, with tables and trays at the ready for ash. People can bring in a coffee to enjoy with their smoke, the owners said.

A specialized filter system clears the air in minutes.

They are excited to get up and running after years of work. The owners did much of the work on the building themselves, including a sales floor with a spaceship-looking counter.

Glass pipes are for sale and people can use their own bong/smoking devices or rent them. But patrons can only use marijuana bought on site.

Only Alien is free to enter and is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The cannabis consumption lounge is perfect for people looking to be part of a community of like-minded people, the owners said.

“It’s pretty surreal to see people smoking cannabis in here and enjoying themselves without fear of prosecution,” Marty Webber said.

Only Alien Cannabis Lounge Kzoo

Growing, selling and smoking on site

Only Alien’s plants are small today — the business has 300 plants growing — but those plants will shoot up in the coming weeks. The young plants will move through the growing stages to harvest after spending time in facility’s hydroponic grow room with automated lights.

The “mother room” is visible from a wide window off the lobby. Once the operation is up and running, it will house mother plants that sprout leaves used to start other plants from.

The views of the growing process plus the on-site sales make Only Alien stand out among Michigan lounges, the owners said.

“We’re like the pioneers of legal cannabis consumption in Michigan,” Barham said.

Since the plants grown there will be sold only at Only Alien, it adds an element of exclusivity.

“You won’t find our product at other stores,” Barham said.

The former drummer of the band “Sleeping with Sirens,” Barham wants to bring in events to mix cannabis and music in a creative way. Only Alien also plans to bring in cannabis brands for events, the owners said.

They hope to expand the lounge area into different-themed hangout spaces in other parts of the building.

They’re also looking into what food might be allowed on site, like a vending machine, and would like to add food options for customers as the business grows.

To ensure none of the plants are abducted, Only Alien has armed security on site. There are some rules people must follow, and alcohol is prohibited, the owners said.

Beyond that, Only Alien aims to be inclusive and welcoming.

The multipronged cannabis business occupies the space of a former beloved restaurant, Great Lakes Shipping Co. The restaurant shut down in 2018 after 44 years in business there.

Only Alien’s funding comes from family and friends, a group of nine people, the owners said.

They envision it as a vertically integrated company, with a “seed-to-smoke” business model where people can do everything cannabis related in one place.

Since their in-house plants are not yet ready to harvest, Only Alien is offering infused products for sale, the owners said, explaining they can only sell their own cannabis buds (or flower) in house.

The owners see Only Alien as a safe haven for people to have a place to use cannabis. It is a safer alternative to smoking and driving right after, he said.

“People can come in here, smoke a little bit, test out the products and relax and vibe out a little while,” Webber said. “Also, they’re able to lessen the effects, just sit hang out for a bit and once they feel ready, they can go out and go home and drive safe.”

Only Alien Cannabis Lounge Kzoo
It is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana in Michigan, which is something Michigan State Police Spl/Lt. DuWayne Robinson has reminded people of since marijuana use became legal in Michigan.

“It’s still illegal to drive under the influence,” Robinson said, recommending people make a plan about how they will get home before they go to a place to use marijuana.

“If you’ve recently used marijuana, you’re going to be impacted from using it,” Robinson said. “It could impair your ability to drive, so you’ll want to identify a driver, use a rideshare or use public transportation to get where you’re trying to go.”

Only Alien Cannabis Co.

 4525 W Kl Ave.

Kalamazoo, MI 49006



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