Michigan’s Milestones in the Cannabis Industry

When it comes to the legalized recreational marijuana industry in the state of Michigan, the word ‘milestone’ seems to be in the headlines almost every month. In fact, just two weeks into 2021, news outlets reported that with totals coming in from the week of January 6th through the 12th, legal recreational marijuana sales topped $10 million in the state of Michigan in only six weeks. That one week totaled $1,839,328, which is the highest number since legal sales began back in 2019.

But more good news has Michigan buzzing. Not only does the figure released by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency show a total of $10,090,446 in adult-use marijuana sales being reported for just the first six weeks, but it also indicates that this one week’s sales brought the total excise tax to $1,009,045 and total sales tax to $665,969; or $1,675,014 in combined tax revenue.

In this truly harsh climate, with one and all worried about everything from money to unemployment to hoping and praying for a third stimulus check just to pay the rent, the legalized adult-use cannabis industry has shown to be one of the most profitable ventures ever introduced. It has allowed the states that have legalized the market to collect revenue and add new businesses and jobs for their citizens each and every day. To date, 62 licenses have been issued by Michigan for recreational marijuana operations; this is broken down between 35 retailers, 14 Class C growers, six processors, four secure transporters, two event organizers, and one safety compliance facility. In other words, Michigan is opening doors to its citizens, but there is far more to come.

With the town of Ann Arbor showing more licensed retailers than any other city in Michigan at the moment, the state is not even close to market saturation, which means revenue and new jobs will soar once again in 2021. The tri-county area shows only three licensed retailers: Oakland County has one, Wayne County has two, and Macomb County accounts for none, but the outlook is impressive. Just this week, on January 19th, regulators in Detroit finally started accepting applications for recreational marijuana business licenses, with the permits expected to be issued no later than June. This is extremely happy news for the entrepreneurs in Detroit – a city that has been far behind other Michigan municipalities when it came to launching state-legal programs.

It seems that Michigan is watching the state of California and others to see just how fast the industry grows and that bringing in a billion dollars or more per year is not some “Harry Potter” fantasy but absolute reality.

Although approved by voters back in 2018, retail sales did have to wait for quite some time until state officials built a regulatory system to manage the young, fledgling industry. Once the structure had been created, retail sales began in December of 2019, with weekly sales numbers climbing steadily. It was in 2020 that Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry hit a new milestone when sales exceeded medical marijuana for the first time ever.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the constant milestones Michigan has been reaching and surpassing never seemed to stop in 2020. It was in July that Michigan’s adult-use cannabis industry was reported to have sold more than $200 million in recreational marijuana products. And, the MRA commissioned an economic analysis through Michigan State University, ending up with estimates that the mature marijuana market in Michigan would eventually generate about $3 billion a year. This is in line with Marijuana Business Factbook, which projects that recreational marijuana sales in Michigan will total $1.9 billion to $2.4 billion by the time 2024 is complete.

Andrew Brisbo, Director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, wants to see more progress. He has stated that there’s more to learn and more development to be done. This is absolutely true, of course, but the way Michigan has been working, it’s easy to see they are ripe to make this industry one of the best in the country in 2021.

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