Michigan OKs recreational marijuana, creating potential $1.7 billion market

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Michigan voters approved an adult-use cannabis initiative Tuesday, CNN projected, making the state the first in the Midwest to pass adult-use marijuana legalization.

Nationally, Michigan is the ninth state to approve a full-fledged recreational marijuana program that permits commercial cultivation and sales.

Marijuana Business Daily projects Michigan’s recreational cannabis market will generate $1.4 billion-$1.7 billion in annual sales within several years of launching, making it one of the largest in the nation.

It’s for this reason that the legalization measure, known as Proposal 1, has been the mostly widely watched MJ initiative in this year’s midterm election.

“The passage of Proposal 1 will open the door for a wide range of cannabis business opportunities,” Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, wrote in an email to MJBizDaily.

“As the first state in the Midwest to create an adult-use market, Michigan is well-positioned to become a leader not only in the region but also nationwide,”

Kris Krane, president and co-founder of 4Front Ventures, a multistate cannabis operator, said Michigan’s legalization of adult-use marijuana could prompt other states in the Midwest to follow suit.

“(This) should pave the way for other states to follow suit, likely starting with Illinois through the state Legislature as soon as next year,” Krane wrote in an email to MJBizDaily.

“This may also propel Ohio to push a ballot initiative in 2020. Michigan may be the first domino to fall in the Midwest and beyond.”

Proposal 1 details

Once the results of the vote are certified, the state has one year to create the regulatory framework for the new rec market and to begin accepting license applications.

Under Proposal 1:

  • The state will not limit the number of adult-use licenses it approves. Municipalities, however, may limit or prohibit recreational marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.
  • The state will accept adult-use applications only from licensed medical marijuana businesses for up to 24 months. However, the state can offer licenses to any applicant if it’s determined that more businesses would help curb the black market, improve supply or provide reasonable access to cannabis in rural areas.
  • The initiative creates license classifications for small businesses – a cultivator whose grow is capped at 100 plants, for example. Also, the state will accept microbusiness applications only from Michigan residents for up to 24 months – unless there are special circumstances as noted above.
  • The state has one year to create the regulatory framework for the rec market. If regulators fail to set guidelines, municipalities are allowed to create rules that the state would recognize.
  • Municipalities can allow and regulate social consumption spaces and license cannabis events where consumption is allowed in designated areas.

“Being the first in the Midwest is significant for the region,” said Rick Thompson, the owner of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group.