Michigan Taking Steps to Combat the Illicit Market

On December 1, 2019, Michigan recreational cannabis dispensaries opened their doors for their first day of sales, and it wasn’t long before the demand outpaced the supply.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced October 6, 2020 that the state plans to enact an initiative to open the recreational market to those who previously had trouble entering. This initiative is set to begin March 1, 2021 and will also help to combat the unlicensed, illicit market. This change will reduce requirements for Class B and C growers, along with retailers, processors, transporters, and testing laboratories. A medical marijuana license will no longer be a prerequisite in order to obtain a recreational cannabis license. This reduces the cost and opens the door for many who do not have interest in participating in the medical marijauna program, but would like to enter the recreational market. 

The reason this requirement exists was to allow the companies who first entered into the medical marijuana space, to have a chance to establish themselves recreationally before the opportunity was opened up to everybody. This change will also pacify the cannabis shortages many retailers of recreational cannabis have experienced since sales first began.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency mentioned that Michigan State Police Marijuana Tobacco Investigation Section released data showing that more than 4 in 5 seizures of illicit cannabis plants and products occurred in municipalities that did not have regulated cannabis facilities (dispensaries, cultivation, processing, etc..) This is especially troublesome in a large city like Detroit, which has not yet given approval to any type of recreational cannabis business license.

With sales expected to generate more than 1 billion dollars annually, it is critical to sway customers to buy their cannabis legally. Not only will the state reap the benefits of the tax revenue, but it will strongly curb the illicit market which remains strong amidst the cannabis shortages in licensed facilities.

Cultivating more opportunities to enter the recreational market will help reduce the cost for customers, as the shortages this year drove prices up. With more cultivators, processors and retailers operating, people will be incentivised not only by safety, but by price to purchase their cannabis from a regulated facility rather than someone in the illicit market. 

As a company that prioritizes safety, we appreciate the steps Michigan is taking to make cannabis licenses more obtainable. In doing so, they allow people who may not have been able to enter the legal market at first, a second shot, which will ultimately ensure greater protection for consumers. We look forward to serving this new industry, and are excited to watch this market grow!