Cannabis users in Michigan will get the opportunity to purchase legal weed months earlier than expected, thanks to a new decision from the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).
According to a new report from the Detroit Free Press, MRA officials made an announcement to existing Michigan medical marijuana companies this week. The MRA informed them of a new policy that will allow for the transfer of up to 50% of backstocked cannabis products from the medical market to the recreational industry as soon as December 1st — just two weeks away.
“There’s definitely demand in both [the medical and recreational] markets and we want to provide a mechanism for businesses to provide products where the demand exists,” MRA director Andrew Brisbo told the Free Press.
Michigan residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis in late 2018, but have not yet been able to enjoy the fruits of that democratic action. The MRA had originally planned to delay recreational cannabis sales until licensed recreational grow sites harvested their first crops, but with adult-use licensing opening just two weeks ago on November 1st, those rules would have delayed rec sales until at least March or April 2020.
Under the new MRA ordinance, however, any medical marijuana company awarded full recreational licensing by December 1st will be able to transfer existing product and begin adult-use sales immediately.
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Unfortunately, thanks to already existing product shortages in the medical market, Michigan industry insiders and state officials are skeptical that currently-operating companies will be able to transfer significant amounts of inventory. With flower products especially sought after, dispensaries predict only vape pens, edibles, topicals, and other non-bud products will hit the recreational market before the new year.
“I can’t imagine that we’ll have more than a dozen or so,” Brisbo said. “As we’ve seen in the medical market, it’s a slow build-out as inventory and production of plants and products increases. We want to provide an environment where businesses can supply the market as quickly as possible.”
But even with limited products and dispensaries, Michigan both cannabis users and retailers are already waiting with bated breath for the legalization start date.
"We’re stoked,” Omar Hishmeh, CEO of Michigan medical marijuana grower Exclusive Brands, told the Free Press. “We’ve gotten so many phone calls.”
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