The recreational market began legally in Ann Arbor, Michigan on December 1, 2019. As of right now, this is the only city with any licensed recreational stores in the state.
At 10:00am, licensees were able to transfer product from medical inventory to recreational inventory for sale. The transferable product must be within a licensee’s inventory for a minimum of 30 days and may not exceed 50% of total product type available. The thinking is that this will help move product that medicinal patients have elected not to purchase, and the amount limitation will preserve product for medicinal patients over recreational consumers (1). This consideration is important, but foresight was definitely lacking within the licensing process. Especially since industry members have been expressing concerns over product shortages for months (2).
Marijuana regulatory agencies (nationwide) have failed to tap experts’ knowledge and assistance when formulating guidelines or planning processes. Anyone with a basic knowledge of economics could explain that product is required to supply demand. Within Michigan’s licensing process, they failed to license growers prior to retailers. It takes roughly four months for marijuana to be ready from seed to sale. Licensees were processed and approved on a first-come first-served basis for all types (2).
Any burgeoning industry will experience growing pains as they initiate implementation, but the recreational market in Michigan is not expected to be functioning at full capacity for at least another calendar year. This shortage of product in Michigan has driven the price of marijuana to roughly $4,000 per pound, four times the price as Colorado (2).
This is an historic occasion for the normalization and legalization of marijuana. Michigan is the first in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and will be a litmus test for neighboring states such as Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and others as to how they frame their regulations in the future.
(1) Adult-Use Marijuana Transfer Window Opens Sunday in Michigan https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_79571_79784-513379–,00.html
(2) Beggin, Riley. “Why easy access to recreational marijuana is taking so long in Michigan.” Bridge Magazine. November 25, 2019. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/why-easy-access-recreational-marijuana-taking-so-long-michigan