When and Where You’ll Be Able to Buy Recreational Marijuana in Michigan
As of Sunday, December 1st, the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan... at three locations... in Ann Arbor. So when and where can the rest of us score some green? We spoke with an expert and got some answers.
A lot of people have waited a very long time to buy marijuana legally. Ironically, a lot of those people are now waiting in very long lines to exercise their legal right to do so in the State of Michigan. The money has been rolling in for the three Ann Arbor dispensaries that went into business Sunday, reportedly raking in $221,000 in the first day of business alone. That's a lot of money and a lot of weed.
It's been almost a year building up to this day, as voters passed proposal 1 to legalize recreational use and sale of Marijuana in November of 2018. So with this much lead time to prepare, why are there only three licensed dispensaries ready to go and why are they all in Ann Arbor? When and where can we buy marijuana in Genesee County? What about the rest of Michigan?
Clear answers to all of our pretty questions seemed difficult to find, so we reached out to a colleague in the industry, Rick Thompson from NORML of Michigan. Thompson was on hand for the kickoff of recreational sales and actually made the second legal purchase, right behind activist and poet John Sinclair, who was famously incarcerated for 10 years for possession of two joints in 1969. Ironically, both Sinclair and Thompson are Flint natives.
"Yes, only three can sell recreational cannabis in Michigan today," Thompson explained to our disbelief that Ann Arbor has the market cornered for the time being. He further elaborated on the cause for the sketchy roll out, offering this:
"The Marijuana Regulatory Agency made a surprise decision to make the date December 1 and to allow cannabis to be taken from the medical program into the rec market. Lots of disagreement about these decisions within the cannabis business community. The process of creating rules is very regulated and lengthy in Michigan. We are opening rec shops under "emergency rules" now, as the state is still in the process of getting the final rules approved. The biggest limiting factor is the state not announcing a hard date until 2 weeks before AND the horrid shortage of cannabis flower in most medical provisioning centers. Rec cannabis gardens will not be producing until March or April, so until then certain companies are able to suck half of their 30-day old inventory and sell it to the rec market. People who thought they had plenty of time to do their rec applications were very surprised to see the super-quick rollout announced and they are scrambling to catch up."
Beyond the issues of why this was happening was our most important question -- when will we have a dispensary ready to go in our area? MLive has recently shared a map (click here) of dispensary locations that are listed as "pre-qualified," which didn't mean what we hoped it meant. "Pre-qualified means they are still processing their paperwork for the rec side, but that they already have medical licenses," said Thompson. "All of the shops listed on that map will probably have rec licenses by the end of the year."
Luckily for us, there are three such dispensaries located in Genesee County -- The Barn on Bristol Rd in Burton, Elite Wellness on Dort Hwy in Mt. Morris, and Freddie's on Dort in Clio. There will likely be more added to this list in the future, but that's pretty much the entirety of the dispensaries in the on-deck circle at the moment. The next closest pre-qualified locations are The ReLeaf Center in Chesaning and Skymint in Bay City.
So there you have it. Hopefully, we'll have a few places to legally pick up a bag for recreational purposes within the month. We'll try to keep you posted, but it sounds like this whole launch is a mess.