By Jim Newell
Cannabis company Society C opened a state-of-the-art 54,000 square feet marijuana cultivation facility in Orion Township on Friday.
Natrabis is the parent company of Society C. Both companies were founded by Nick Simpson, Michael Thomas and Ben Puraj.
The $25 million facility at 4601 Liberty Drive South in Orion Township is one of the largest and most advanced marijuana cultivation facilities in Michigan, capable of producing roughly 350 pounds of natural, premium quality cannabis per week.
The company, which broke ground in early November 2020, will employ 60-70 employees, Puraj said, and is currently in the hiring process.
Society C will be distributing its exotics through local dispensaries and an e-commerce platform starting in October, with expansion plans for five boutique retail locations in Michigan in the coming months.
Puraj said one of the reasons the business partners chose Orion Township as the site for Society C was because he and Simpson are familiar with the area: Puraj went to Rochester High School and Simpson went to Rochester Adams.
“We wanted an area that our team members would enjoy, too. When we attract talent, we want them to enjoy the surrounding community, also,” Puraj said. “And (Orion Township Supervisor) Chris Barnett was a very big help. He embraced us and was positive about what we were doing when it was hard to do that at the time. That was one of the major reasons.”
Society C will harvest a portion of its marijuana product every week for cultivation and, eventually, shipping to dispensaries.
“We’ll harvest about 350 pounds, conservatively, a week. Half of that will be processed under our brand, Society C. When we process our brand it will be high-end concentrates; solventless products like water hash, rosin, rosin carts and then we’ll produce high-end flower,” Puraj said.
Society C products will be distributed to one of Natrabis’s dispensaries, Puraj said, adding the company plans to have four to six dispensaries spread out strategically.
None of the dispensaries are in Orion Township. The Orion Township Board of Trustees approved an ordinance allowing marijuana growers, processors and secure transporters but did not approve retail marijuana facilities within the township.
The rest of the product will be shipped to other dispensaries partnering with Society C.
Puraj, Simpson and Thomas each have more than 20 years experience in the marijuana industry and have now, with the Orion Township building, built five grow and cultivation facilities.
“We learned the trade in California over 20 years ago…we’ve learned different things from every facility. That experience really helped and we knew what we needed and what we didn’t and what really mattered,” Puraj said.
Inside the massive cultivation center, a state-of-the-art Rhythm “fertigation” system manages the health and growth of approximately 20,000 marijuana plants. The facility includes an environmentally conscious water reclamation process for plant irrigation, a $2 million on-site lab, nine “flower” rooms and its own internal processing center to maintain the integrity of Society C’s natural, premium cannabis.
For additional information, please visit www.wearesocietyc.com.
The Natrabis facility isn’t the first marijuana facility in Orion Township.
The Oakland Business Park on Premier Drive – which is a separate development from the Natrabis project – broke ground in late 2018 on a $40 million development that will consist of three buildings and will have marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters and safety compliance tenants, developers said.