After adult-use recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan last year, people went to the stores licensed to sell only to realize that they needed medical certification from the state to be able to purchase pot.
One year later and Michigan residents still cannot walk into a store and buy weed.
However, this may soon be possible in the first quarter of 2020. That is if the Marijuana Regulatory Agency accepts applications from businesses possessing medical marijuana licenses this fall. Since medical marijuana businesses have passed the rigorous licensing process, it will be quicker and easier to issue recreational selling licenses to them.
It may be a long wait before the sale of any adult-use marijuana begins because owners of the medical marijuana dispensaries are complaining about lacking enough quality products to stock their shelves, which begs the question of where the sellers will get enough recreational marijuana supplies whose market is almost ten times that of medical marijuana.
Currently, all the licensed marijuana growers are growing medical cannabis, and this includes the caregivers who are allowed to grow weed for their patients. Before, the caregivers used to sell their excess stock to dispensaries, but the MRA prohibited the act in June. Medical cannabis cannot be sold as a recreational weed.
According to Robin Schneider, the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, the MRA rules allow for surplus medical marijuana to be used for recreational purposes if the department approves it. However, this is not possible if there is a shortage of medical marijuana, as it would entail denying the patients medication.
Currently, there is no surplus, and it is not possible to grow recreational marijuana as licenses are yet to be approved. No one has an accurate answer regarding when residents of Michigan will be able to walk into a store and buy legal cannabis.
According to the CEO of GROW Cannabis Marketing in Royal Oak, Mort Meisner, medical marijuana shortages are still a big challenge, and the MRA, together with the growers, should take action to increase availability.
Since licenses for recreational marijuana are yet to be issued, the market will still be in shortage, and the adult-use consumers will continue procuring their weed from the black market. Meisner says the shortage and lack of licensing are due to poor leadership since the agency was created last spring by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
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