Lines snaked down city streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sunday morning as hundreds of eager cannabis consumers waited in line to make some of the first purchases in the Wolverine State’s newly minted recreational cannabis industry.
According to the Detroit Free Press, long queues popped up in rainy weather outside of all three Ann Arbor dispensaries licensed to kick off recreational sales. At around 9:30am Sunday morning, longtime Michigan cannabis activist and pot prisoner John Sinclair kicked off the celebration with the state’s very first legal weed purchase.
Some people have waited in line for three hours or more to purchase recreational marijuana at Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor. pic.twitter.com/dRgvLJV2BG— Breana Noble (@BreanaCNoble) December 1, 2019
“We’re the first state in the Midwest to be able to walk this path. We are a leader and the way cannabis law reform has been accomplished so far,” Rick Thompson, owner of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, told the Free Press. “Damn it. America is a beautiful place. And Michigan is more beautiful today.”
Michigan residents voted to legalize cannabis in 2018, and state officials have spent the last year constructing rules and regulations for middle America’s first full-scale legal weed industry. The newly formed Michigan Regulatory Agency (MRA) had originally planned to roll out legal weed sales in March or April of 2020, but just last month regulators decided to push that date forward, allowing some existing medical dispensaries to transfer some medical product into the recreational market and begin retail sales on December 1st. For Michiganders, the early sales start was a holiday blessing to start off the winter months.
“It’s a historic moment. I wanted to be one of the first ones to buy legal marijuana,” Nick St. Onge, a Clinton Township resident who drove to Ann Arbor to wait in line at 7AM Sunday told the Free Press. “To not have to worry about it anymore. I can just walk in and buy it instead of going to somebody on the street to find it. It’s tested, and that’s comforting.”
In Ann Arbor, only three dispensaries were open to welcome the long line of giddy ganja lovers, and across the state, similarly sparse retail options were the only downside to Sunday’s monumental occasion. But as time goes on and regulators are able to license more recreational growers and retailers, industry insiders are confident that the weekend’s sales will continue to grow into the future.
“I am proud of the hard work our team put in to implement the will of the voters, ahead of the deadline,” MRA director Andrew Brisbo said.
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