2020 Newsmaker of the Year: First networks of cannabis retailers with community allies


Tom Benson Courtesy Fluresh


WINNER: Tom Benson


Fluresh made history in 2020 when it became Grand Rapids’ first licensed medical cannabis supply center earlier this year, but the Adrian-based company didn’t stop there.

Fluresh also became the first adult retailer for Grand Rapids in October, nearly two full years after voters legalized recreational cannabis in the state of Michigan.

“This is a milestone not just for Grand Rapids, but for everyone who pioneered Michigan’s cannabis legalization movement,” said Tom Benson, CEO of Fluresh. “Fluresh is honored to be the first retailer to bring quality cannabis products to residents of this great community and area.”

Fluresh also made a name for itself as a company promoting diversity in West Michigan’s emerging adult industry. For example, the company and the Black and Brown Cannabis Guild (BBCG) sponsored the National Expungement Week drive-up clinic in Grand Rapids to provide extinction resources for those convicted of low-level crimes.

Fluresh also worked with the Kent County’s BBCG, LINC UP, and Disability Advocates in 2020 to recruit and retain a diverse pool of applicants, particularly those negatively affected by the war on drugs at 49507 Area Code.

“We’re building community relationships while filling the gaps in the diversity of the industry,” said Benson. “Fluresh is grateful for our ongoing relationship with groups like LINC UP, Black & Brown Cannabis Guild, and other community organizations that have helped bring skilled talent to our doors, and we will continue this progress to ensure we have an equitable one and represent the inclusive cannabis industry. ”

Click here to find out more about the other 2020 Newsmakers of the Year winners.