Michigan Recreational Sales Get Strong Start Despite Limitations

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Over a year has passed since Michigan voted to legalize recreational cannabis for those 21 and older. Sales for adult-use cannabis began on December 1st and the Michigan Regulatory Agency reported that consumers spent $221,000 on their first day. People lined up for blocks in the cold to have a chance to buy legal marijuana for the first time.

Michigan already had a strong medical cannabis program already in place, bringing in approximately $970 million in sales this year. Though they have a strong medical program, at this time, Ann Arbor is the only place in Michigan where customers can purchase cannabis recreationally. Exclusive Brands, Arbor Wellness and Greenstone Provisions are currently the only three shops in operation in the state. T

Three additional retail shops, Lit Provisioning Center in Evart, Skymint in Ann Arbor, and Michigan Supply and Provisions in Morenci were approved for their state licenses to sell recreational cannabis on Wednesday, but they weren’t expected to be ready to start sales on Sunday. Cities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb county, for example, have either banned recreational use in their area entirely or are working on regulations in their area/deciding who will receive a license to operate.

In November, Detroit’s city council unanimously voted to opt-out of recreational sales until January 31st. They cited their reasoning as wanting more time to draft regulations for their area. USA Today reported that approximately 80% of municipalities in Michigan voted to opt-out of recreational cannabis sales being permitted in their communities, at least at this time. This does not seem to affect the states’ projections for its newest industry, Canaccord Genuity estimated the market to reach $1.5 billion in 2020. The state House Fiscal Agency has estimated that when the market is fully established after 2020, annual sales will be approximately $949 million, bringing in $94.9 million from the states’ excise tax and $57 million from the 6% sales tax.  

Michigan only began accepting applications for business licenses on November 1st. It has awarded a total of 18 licenses thus far, including dispensaries, processors, and growers. Another 63 licenses have been pre-qualified already.

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