ANN ARBOR, MI — John McLeod thought he would consume opiates for the rest of his life — until cannabis transformed him.
When he was 7 years old, McLeod said he was the victim of a robbery and decided that when he grew up he would be a police officer to ensure other kids would be safe.
He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1999. While on duty eight years later, the Detroit native’s life changed again.
As he was chasing teenagers through an alley after they broke into a home, McLeod hit a lifted sewer grate and his knee snapped.
“My partner actually called out ‘shots fired, officer down’ because he thought I got shot by the way I dropped and how loud my knee was,” McLeod said.
To help his recovery, he said, doctors “started treating me with opiates. They said, ‘Everything is fine as long as you never stop taking them and increase the usage.’”
Then, he had a wake up call.
“One day, my wife and I had a conversation and she told me, ‘This isn’t working. You’re not the best husband you can be, you’re not the best father you can be’. … It was a very, very strong wake up call.”
His wife suggested cannabis, which led him to a doctor to guide him through the process.
“It was like flipping a switch for me. I haven’t taken an aspirin in almost nine years. I was told that I was going to be on opiates my entire life. It changed my whole thought process on cannabis. At that point in time, it was still marijuana in my eyes. Then I realized this is something different. This is medicine. This is transformative. It saved my life,” McLeod said.
He decided to turn his experiences into the Cloud Cannabis business to reach patients who rely on the plant for any ailment. But he dealt with internal conflict, he said.
“It was a tough progression for me,” he said. “In 2008, the state of Michigan voted that it was legal for medical use. So police officers are law and order people but they don’t write the laws, they just enforce the laws….. I didn’t struggle necessarily so much with that as I did allowing myself to explore alternative healing options. I guess that was really the biggest thing. The stigma is probably the biggest thing part two…because the stigma regarding cannabis in 2008 (to) 2010 is considerably different than it is in 2020.”
McLeod left the Detroit Police Department in 2008.
McLeod runs a dispensary in Muskegon Township and is planning to open another in a 2,400-square-foot space at 1760 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor Tuesday, Sept. 29, serving both medical and recreational inventory. He plans to open up to 12 new locations across Michigan in the next 18 months.
New marijuana dispensary opens in Muskegon Township
“To be taken seriously, you have to be in Ann Arbor, in my opinion. Ann Arbor has always been a beacon on cannabis,” McLeod said. “I look at competitors as they’re just partners in the same industry I’m in.”
McLeod prides his business in a “patients over profits” approach.
“I came to cannabis as a patient… we’re always going to think of patients first. One of the things I really advocated for was protecting the medical market,” McLeod said. “This was medicine first. It still is medicine first for a lot of people and we want to make sure those people are valued, respected and cared for within the Cloud Cannabis company.”
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