Process will be slow for recreational cannabis use

Drafting state rules, regulations could take up to two years

Now that Michigan voters have approved adult recreational use of marijuana, questions abound on how the legalization will affect the business climate across the state.

While medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, that doesn’t mean people who wish to partake in recreational use of cannabis can purchase their product at medical marijuana dispensaries. In fact, no regulations for the legal sale of nonmedical marijuana have yet been established. The state has until Dec. 6, 2019, to figure out licenses, taxes and regulations for recreational pot shops. Cannabis Business Times thinks it will likely take two years before the process is in place and licenses can be permitted.

The only way recreational users currently can legally obtain product is in the form of a gift. According to National Public Radio, it is legal for anyone over 21 years old to grow, consume, and possess marijuana, but not purchase or sell it. It is legal for medical marijuana patients to purchase cannabis and gift it to friends, but they cannot sell it.

Under the new law, adults may legally carry up to 2.5 ounces as long as they are not at a K-12 school or on federal property. In their own homes they can store up to 10 ounces and grow up to 12 plants.

In the next year or so, expect some medical marijuana dispensaries to gear up for legal sales of recreational marijuana. In addition, there likely will be plenty of startups to fill the roles of marijuana retailer, processor, grower, secure transporter and microbusinesses, according to GreenZipp.com.

The website suggested that entrepreneurs interested in starting a marijuana-related business spend the next year preparing for the new regulations by studying the ballot language approved by voters in November, which outlines the law. They also should develop a business plan to share with prospective investors.

But wait. There are more restrictions.

Cannabis Business Times said only existing medical marijuana license holders in the state can apply for recreational-use licenses, with the exceptions of the microbusiness license type that the proposition has created and testing lab licenses. The microbusiness is the equivalent of a microbrewery, where the licensee is allowed to grow a small number of plants and sell the flower out of the same location.

Once recreational marijuana is on the marketplace – after business owners have obtained the necessary licenses from the state and have local government permission to set up shop – Cannabis Business Times  predicted Michigan could be a top state for cannabis companies to target. It is expected Michigan’s market to reach $1.3 billion in 2021.

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