Wait, what? Michigan cannabis sales are down?
Given that the vast majority of us are still locked up at home much of the time, further confounded by the subarctic tundra on the other side of the door, you’d think people would be using marijuana now more than ever.
The truth is, they are. It’s just that they’re not buying it from licensed stores and dispensaries.
So what’s going on?
Reasons Michigan Cannabis Sales Are Down
There are a number of factors at play here.
Yeah, sales usually take a dip from October through December. This is typically a result of excess flower in autumn finding its way into the unlicensed market. But experts agree that this is more than a seasonal slump.
Here are some thoughts on what might be happening.
The Loss of Craft-Scale Caregivers
For almost the first ten years of medical marijuana legalization, Michigan patients got product from designated caregivers. This gave caregivers ample time to get REALLY GOOD at their craft – i.e. growing amazing weed.
Enter the current fully licensed regulatory framework, and those caregivers are largely being replaced by commercial-scale growers. And a lot of consumers aren’t digging it. That amazing weed is being replaced by stuff grown from investor-driven operations and it just doesn’t measure up. Go figure.
It’d be like having your favorite craft brewery start offering only Budweiser.
There are also strict contaminant requirements wielded by the state which can leave growers with sterile or irradiated flower. All of this equals weak terpene profiles and low potency. Nobody’s got time for that.
Unlicensed Market Growth
So you know the caregivers we were just talking about? The ones who were providing a ton of product and then were left high and dry when the new regulations were put into place?
If you think they’re sitting in a corner drowning in their own tears, you’d be wrong. They’ve invested a lot of time and money in the business venture of growing high quality cannabis, so you can be sure some (or maybe even a lot) of them have found the unlicensed market the ideal place to peddle their superior wares.
Furthermore, when caregivers were cut out and starting straying to unlicensed markets, the price of cannabis skyrocketed. That also had a negative effect on sales. Especially considering that the cannabis wasn’t as good.
“Sell crappier product at a higher price” is hardly an ideal business plan.
Folks Are Growing Their Own
Look. People who aren’t happy with the quality in the regulated market but are unwilling to dip into the unlicensed market are increasingly turning to growing their own.
With the magic of genetics, it’s relatively easy to grow your own weed in Michigan. Even UPers are finding success in growing both indoors and outdoors. Seed and plant suppliers are experiencing a boom in business.
And with the unlicensed market thriving and looking for quality cannabis, there’s further motivation for some growers. Plus, with the 12-plant allowance in Michigan for those growing at home, there’s increasing incentive to stick with the homespun weed.
Ah, yes. Who could forget the continuing saga and scourge of COVID?
Last spring, sales rose significantly after the first round of COVID stimulus checks. But that hasn’t happened this time around.
Some of this may have to do with the lost wages experienced by those who face less employment discrimination over using weed. Folks in occupations such as hair stylists, bartenders, and wait staff have been largely out of work. So their stimulus checks this time are going toward, well, living.
There’s no extra cash in their pockets for cannabis right now.
Hopefully Sales Will Bounce Back
If your Michigan cannabis sales are down, it could be a result of some or all of the above reasons. But if a weak marketing strategy is also a factor, you can eliminate that.
You’ve got enough competition out there!