Michigan, the first midwest US state to roll-out a recreational marijuana program, has already made $3.1 million in adult-use sales and $515,051 in tax revenue after just two weeks.
Considering other weed-legal states such as Washington State and Colorado have surpassed the $1-billion mark in adult-use cannabis sales, $3.1 million may not seem like much. If we assumed Michigan sold that much weed every two weeks, the Wolverine State would only net about $80 million in sales annually.
But Michigan’s recreational cannabis program just got off the ground, and only five stores in the state can legally sell adult-use weed right now. In the first week of sales, only two stores were open and selling product. Meanwhile, there are just over 1,000 licensed pot shops across Colorado and over 100 in Washington State. So, $3.1 million among five retail stores in a state with nearly 10 million people ain’t half bad.
"Business appears to be steady from week to week, and it's clear that people are making business decisions on which products to move over from week to week," said David Harns, a spokesperson for the Michigan Regulatory Agency, which oversees the state’s legal cannabis program.
While business may be steady, Michigan made the same mistake that pretty much every other legal state made before it: The government didn’t give cannabis businesses enough time to cultivate, process, test, and package products. The state is already facing severe weed shortages, almost as soon as it started making legal sales.
"As a store owner, you can't find enough product yet. Licensed growers can't produce enough and people are sitting on inventory for 30 days to fuel the adult-use side," Jeff Hank, a local cannabis activist who led Michigan’s legalization initiative, told the Detroit Free Press. "It takes a long time for these facilities to get up and running. There's going to be a shortage in the long term no matter what."
The next state to come online for recreational weed will be Illinois, which launches sales on January 1st. And, just like Michigan, Illinois will also need to figure out how it’s going to handle its inevitable cannabis shortages, as well.
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