Just days after adult-use cannabis sales went live in Michigan, legal pot shops have been forced to impose sale limits due to the insane demand for product.
Last Sunday, the first day of adult-use sales, customers lined up around the block for a chance to shop at the state's four legal cannabis stores. By day's end, three of these stores had sold a whopping $221,000 worth of weed. And even with that volume of sales, these stores still had to turn customers away. When Ann Arbor pot store Exclusive Brands shut its doors at 9pm, there were still around 200 people waiting to get inside.
Four days later, demand has shown no sign of relaxing. “We’ve sustained a line all day,” said Arbors Wellness owner James Daly to MLive. “We are working through the lines very efficiently. There’s about a 40- minute wait.”
Wait times at Ann Arbor's other two stores are much longer, with Greenstone Provisions reporting a 2-hour wait, and Exclusive Brands reporting a 3-to-4-hour wait time. The state's fourth store, Michigan Supply and Provisions, located in Morenci on the Ohio border, is not reporting a wait.
In addition to the long wait times, stores are beginning to face serious supply shortages. Greenstone Provisions ran out of flower on Sunday and Monday, and while they have restocked daily, they are struggling to keep bud on the shelves. To handle this demand, both Greenstone and Michigan Supply and Provisions will be limiting flower sales to 7 grams per customer. Arbors Wellness is limiting customers to an eighth of flower, 15 vape carts, seven pre-rolls, and two edibles.
Exclusive Brands, however, has been able to meet customers' massive demand for weed. “We’re not running out and we’re not limiting [sale] of any of our products,” said co-owner Omar Hishmeh to MLive. “We are fully stocked and are actively adding product to the system. We will not run out of product.” Weed shoppers must still comply with state buying restrictions, however, which limits sales to 2.5 ounces of flower, including 15 grams of concentrate, per transaction.
Part of the reason for the supply discrepancy is the fact that Exclusive Brands and Arbors Wellness both operate their own cannabis processing facilities. The other two stores must buy their weed directly from their competition, or source it from Green Peak, the state's third — and largest — licensed weed provider. Green Peak is about to open its own chain of retail stores across the state, though, which should help relieve the extreme demand these first four stores are experiencing.
The long lines and bare shelves should come as no surprise to any savvy cannabis consumer. In Canada, the world's largest adult-use market, retailers were forced to close their doors days after sales began, due to extreme product shortages. Supply issues have also plagued several US states, including California and Nevada, shortly after adult-use sales became legal.