In the first week of recreational marijuana in Michigan, the product is selling out fast. Some places in the state are reporting that they already sold out before the first weekend was even up, leading to high profits. While the dispensary plans to have a restock shortly, shortages of marijuana are something that those in Michigan are going to have to learn how to sit with for some time until the market develops.
The Marijuana is Moving Fast
In the town of Evart, Michigan, the excitement around legal marijuana is very real. The first weekend saw long lines of souls willing to brave the cold to try and get some legal marijuana during the first week that it has been allowed for recreational use in the state. One dispensary in Evart, Lit Provisioning Centers, ran out of product just two days after opening its doors.
“People traveled from across the state, braved the cold and stood in line for hours to be among the first to purchase recreational marijuana in northern Michigan," Lume Cannabis Company President and Chief Operating Officer Doug Hellyar told MLive.
“In under two days, we saw over 750 customers and did more than $75,000 in recreational sales, with the average customer spending $103.” Lit Provisioning Centers is a part of the Lume Cannabis Company, which operates a 12,000-plant grow facility in Evart, a medical dispensary in Kalamazoo, while the company has plans to add nine retail locations across Michigan.
The company is currently working to bring more products for sale. "We are humbled that our first weekend of adult-use sales at Lit Provisioning Centers in Evart was so well received," said Hellyar in a press release. "People traveled from across the state, braved the cold and stood in line for hours to be among the first to purchase recreational marijuana in Northern Michigan."
Including taxes, the state estimates customers spent nearly $1.63 million at state marijuana dispensary shops during the first week of sales. The first day in recreational sales alone saw over $221K in total in Michigan.
Since Michigan’s recreational marijuana sales began Dec. 1, long lines, purchase limits and shortages have become routine as the industry still tries to settle itself. Legal sales in Michigan have been available since Dec. 1, 2019, however, only ten facilities are licensed to sell in-state, while only five have begun recreational sales, however, the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency said it expects to license nearly a dozen businesses for retail sales by the new year.
The state is holding off from granting a large number of licenses because of fears that shortages will hurt medical marijuana patients and cause more problems.
Marijuana in Michigan
In 2017, over 365,000 voters petitioned the state to have a recreational marijuana on the ballot in the next election.
In 2018, 56 percent of voters passed the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which authorized the beginning of the marijuana industry in the state. There has been medical marijuana in the state of Michigan since 2008 when it was legalized through the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative after passing with 63 percent of the vote. While some time has passed since the bill, the state is still trying to get set up for the boom that is going to come with the excitement around recreational marijuana.
However, not everyone in Michigan is excited, with nearly 80 percent and more than 250 of Michigan cities, townships and villages having banned recreational businesses in their communities. While some of the bans are just temporary until the state can figure out all the rules and regulations that will go with the new industry, some are opting out due to caution and from the stigma of marijuana. "My sense is about half are opting out of an abundance of caution — others are representing their community's opinion," Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, told MLive.
"And that's their right." Still, some of the biggest cities in the state are keeping their doors open to this new industry, including Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids. Michigan isn’t the only state to have a large portion of its cities end up saying no to recreational marijuana. In the first state to legalize marijuana, Colorado, almost 75 percent of its cities and more than half of its 64 counties ban retail sales.
A total of 80 cities and 16 counties have opted to ban cannabis businesses in Oregon, where cannabis has been legal since 2014, which has created a legal marijuana desert in the eastern part of the state. Still, those who want legal marijuana in Michigan are going to have to wait just a little bit longer as the main rollout will probably not be until next spring. Despite the earlier legalization date, there is just not enough product in the state to fully begin recreational sales.
Leaders are also worried and still debating on if medical marijuana should be sold with recreational marijuana. Currently, the two options are going to be primarily separated for the time being, with recreational customers not allowed to buy medical marijuana products and vice versa.
One thing that will separate Michigan from other states is the social use of marijuana outside of private homes is going to be available. Special permits will be available to clubs and events seeking to have marijuana at their event or place of business. While you may be able to smoke in these places, the sale of food and alcohol is going to be banned.
Home delivery is also going to be available for those in the state, however, drive-thrus and mailing is going to be banned. Currently, lawmakers are working out more of the recreational program, including adding a social equity program and other services to help those who have been affected negatively by the War on Drugs and marijuana in the state.