Michigan on Thursday became the latest state to officially legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but it’s initially only for adult possession and use – not commercial sales.
The start of what is expected to be billion-dollar-plus commercial industry is still more than a year away, but businesses are positioning themselves in anticipation.
Matt Miner, lobbyist/coordinator of the Great Lakes Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, a newly formed industry group, said he knows of cultivators that hope to get an early foothold in the recreational MJ industry after recently securing medical marijuana licenses.
MMJ license holders get first dibs on rec MJ licenses for the first 24 months of the program, with some exceptions.
Miner told Marijuana Business Daily that the two main challenges the industry group foresees in implementing a rec MJ industry in the state are:
- Michigan’s medical marijuana market is still going through a transition to a new regulatory structure and has yet to shed itself of the illegal market that has existed for years. “First, we have to get rid of the unlicensed market,” Miner said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
- Although the state’s voter-approved, adult-use MJ initiative doesn’t restrict the number of licenses, it does give municipalities the right to ban recreational marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions. Some already have done so, but in a positive development this week, Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids, decided not to opt out.
A grower with an MMJ license may have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in its operation, “only to wind up in a community that says it won’t allow (recreational cannabis),” Miner said. “That’s going to be a challenge.”
He said his group plans to work with Michigan regulators on such licensing issues.