As of yesterday, December 1st, recreational sales of marijuana are now legal in Michigan.
People – one of whom was the legendary John Sinclair – were lined up at three different dispensaries in Ann Arbor yesterday to be part of the historical moment.
In fact, Sinclair was the actual first person to buy recreational marijuana legally in the state. Which, given his history, is more than befitting.
But that doesn’t mean you can walk into any dispensary today and get some.
Those three dispensaries in Ann Arbor will be the sole place to purchase recreational marijuana today
Why Just Three Dispensaries in Ann Arbor?
It’s partially because, when it comes to marijuana, Ann Arbor has their sh*t together. They quickly approved having marijuana businesses in their community, which greatly sped up the process.
But not every dispensary in Ann Arbor will be peddling the flower today either. Just those three.
That’s because it wasn’t until November 1st that the state started accepting business applications for the recreational marijuana market. Since that time, they’ve only awarded licenses to six retail shops.
The three dispensaries that were selling marijuana yesterday in Ann Arbor – namely Exclusive Brands, Arbor Wellness, and Greenstone Provisions -received the first three retail licenses. They were well-positioned to begin sales yesterday.
The second three retailers – Lit Provisioning Center in the mid-Michigan town of Evart, Michigan Supply and Provisions just north of the Ohio border in Morenci, and Skymint also in Ann Arbor — didn’t secure their licenses until last Wednesday.
There’s no definite date on when they’ll begin selling. But it’ll likely be soon.
As far as other communities, there’s no saying. As of now, the first provisioning center expected to sell recreational marijuana in Oakland County is projecting no sooner January 1st.
So unless you’re willing to travel some, there will be a wait.
If Recreational Sales of Marijuana Are Now Legal in Michigan, Why the Delay?
The good news is, 63 business applications have been pre-qualified and the state is in the process of inspecting those businesses so it can award licenses.
But unlike Ann Arbor, many communities have wavered back and forth on whether to approve marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions. And this largely stalled out the process.
Then there is the mumbo-jumbo red tape of individual city ordinances and regulations which each cannabis business must invariably untangle.
As of now, only 24 communities have “unofficially” approved ordinances allowing such businesses. These communities are now dealing with the unsavory task of determining who will get recreational sales licensing.
For example, Detroit has 40 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. But they’re holding off on issuing recreational licenses until January 31st because they need that time to craft an ordinance governing these businesses.
Meanwhile, even though Ferndale has three medical dispensaries, only one will be awarded a recreational license. And they have until March 1st to submit an application. So it’ll be a while there.
It doesn’t help that politics play into these decisions as well. Warren and Pontiac, for instance, are both struggling with leaders vetoing ordinances and refusing to finalize zoning plans.
What to Expect When You CAN Finally Buy It?
That’s somewhat hard to say. At least in terms of what will be available.
It’s best to not expect a wide variety at this point. There have been issues with a shortage for a while and it’s important that the medical supply doesn’t get completely drained.
As such, the state is allowing growers and processors to transfer 50% of their product from the medical to the recreational side. Meanwhile, retail shops are permitted to transfer 50% of their medical marijuana inventory that’s been on their shelves for a minimum of 30 days.
There will be no marijuana-infused vapes at this time until that product is tested to ensure it doesn’t contain vitamin E acetate.
Marijuana-infused edibles will be the most prevalent and available in many forms and flavors.
It is important to note though that medical marijuana edibles are permitted to have a higher potency level (up to 50 milligrams per serving), while the potency limit for recreational edibles is 10 milligrams per serving.
And expect to pay more too.
Medical marijuana carries the state’s regular 6% sales tax. But recreational has a 10% excise tax in addition to the 6% sales tax.
We Have Come A Long Way
If you come from an era where you never thought you’d be able to say that recreational marijuana sales are now legal in Michigan, you know how much progress we’ve made.
So while we figure out all of this, some growing pains are inevitable. Seems the best thing to do now is sit back, relax, and chill with some marijuana.
Because we CAN.
For all the latest on what’s happening in the cannabis industry, keep checking back with us. And if you’re looking for professional assistance in your cannabis marketing efforts, contact us today to arrange a consultation.