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Michigan Sales Begin With Limited Launch

December 3, 2019

Michigan’s recreational market launched in muted fashion on Sunday when sales began at just three stores. All three—Exclusive Brands, Arbors Wellness, and Greenstone Provisions—are located in Ann Arbor. Although licenses have also been issued to retailers in the cities Morenci and Evert, they delayed their openings to a later date.

The bigger roadblock to widespread access has proven to be city governments, more than 1,400 of which have banned cannabis retail in their jurisdictions. Besides Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids is the most significant city to allow sales. Detroit recently enacted a temporary ban—set to expire at the end of January—as it finalizes regulations. The ballot measure that legalized recreational sales last fall passed with 56% support statewide.

Detroit is already home to 39 medical marijuana dispensaries. Medical dispensaries statewide will receive certain perks to stay competitive in the changing landscape. Existing medical establishments will enjoy priority in the recreational licensing process for the next two years. Additionally, card-holding medical purchasers will be served separately from the general population at stores licensed for both recreational and medical sales and will be taxed a lower rate on their purchase.

In addition to its new retail locations, Ann Arbor also passed an ordinance in October to allow social consumption spaces, though those are still in the works. In the first full fiscal year, cannabis sales are projected to generate $180.5 million in tax revenue, according to the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. That number is expected to grow to $287.9 million by 2022-23.—Danny Sullivan

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