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Surprise! Michigan adult-use cannabis sales begin Dec. 1

November 13, 2019
michigan marijuana sales opening
(Zummolo/iStock)

Michigan’s winter forecast just a got a little rosier: Those punishing early-winter blizzards will come with a side of frosty, newly legal cannabis nugs.

Adult-use cannabis sales in Michigan could begin as soon as December 1.

On Wednesday, Michigan state regulators approved the movement of pre-existing medical marijuana products into a newly licensed recreational supply chain—allowing maybe a dozen adult-use stores to sell cannabis flower, extracts, and edibles as soon as Dec. 1. The number of licensed products and retailers will slowly increase through 2020.

The Dec. 1 start date is a gift to advocates, aficionados, and Michigan’s cannabis industry. Most observers expected the opening of adult-use stores to wait for the first harvest of purely recreational crops in 2020. Instead, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency ruled that some licensed medical dispensaries can designate up to half of their inventory for the adult-use market.

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41 stores pre-qualified for licenses

Michigan already has an advanced medical cannabis system, and 41 medical cannabis stores have already pre-qualified for adult-use licenses. However, just 22 jurisdictions in Michigan have laws on the books allowing cannabis stores—1,393 have opted out. Sales will not begin Dec. 1 in Detroit, where red tape is slowing the roll-out, according to the Detroit Free Press. Instead, smaller outlying cities will start first.

Michigan legalized with the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), passed in 2018. Proposal 1 gave the state one year to begin regulating cannabis production and sales. Smoking or vaping cannabis in public remains prohibited, as does driving while under the influence of cannabis. Residents 21 and older may cultivate (with permission of the property owner) up to 12 plants per household, subject to restrictions.

Legal, tested supplies of cannabis can’t come soon enough to Michigan, where 46 residents have gotten sick and one has died from contaminated THC vaporizer cartridges bought off the street market. In October, one injured teen required a double-lung transplant, which has a median survival rate of seven years.

Growers and retailers report elation at the chance to serve Michiganders sooner.

“We’re stoked,” a Michigan cannabis operator told the Free Press.

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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  • Jason Kylie

    If you’re in Michigan (and not growing) I would suggest stocking up until well past the holidays.

    Whats going to be available in both the recreational and medical market is going to be limited and expensive…The ‘Black Market’ will probably pick up the slack but expect to pay.

    I havnt seen Michigan ‘dry’ since the early 90s but I suspect its going to be dry for a whole lot of people soon-ish…We have a couple weeks until the $hops open and several people I know who usually purchase from medical $hops have been warned to ‘stock up’ because half the medical stock is being moved over to the recreational market- And with $hops opening Dev 1st there are going to lines around the block.

    I’ll be having a happy holiday since I grow my own but potentially (probably) many people are not going to have such a good time- SO if you’re in Michigan and you can- Stock up until after the new year.