Iron County’s cannabis cultivation facility is preparing for harvest

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CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (WLUC) – You see cannabis products on dispensary shelves across the UP, but only a handful of facilities in Upper Michigan have a state license to grow the product.

From the outside, Northern High Lights in Crystal Falls looks like an ordinary industrial building, but inside, 500 cannabis plants grow in a controlled environment.

“We acquired the property from the City of Crystal Falls two years ago. This is a fundamental build of our facility,” said Donovan Burke, owner and farmer of Northern High Lights.

The company holds a “Class B” license from the state, allowing it to grow up to 500 plants at a time for adult recreational use. Burke can harvest the crop four times a year.

“It takes about 90 days to turn and burn a crop. We burn every 90 days. We flip the space, we chop and harvest and replant the space,” Burke explained.

Burke estimates he can harvest around 100 pounds of cannabis every three months. He then sells it to retail stores for about $2,000 a pound.

“We will be in RiZE [U.P.] we’re officially on their menu at Iron Mountain, and then we just got into the Higher Love stores,” Burke said.

Part of the finished product was shipped to Higher Love in Ironwood on Tuesday. Burke says that growing cannabis is meticulous work, and he learns something new with every harvest, like how to add new strains.

“We currently mainly run Platinum Punch, this is our main grower. We graze in a few other varieties as well,” Burke said.

The facility has the technology to control the amount of light, heat, CO2 and nutrients that the plants receive. Burke says he’s been approved for cultivation since September.

“We are the first and only adult recreational facility in Iron County,” said Burke. “There are only about eight adult recreational producers in the UP”

Burke says being first in the county had its growing pains, but he hopes to one day earn a “Class C” license that allows him to grow 2,000 plants at a time. Burke has five seasonal part-time employees who help him with every harvest.

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