It’s been nearly a year since Michigan residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana but the roll out has been excruciatingly slow. The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is finally ready to begin accepting applications from recreational marijuana businesses starting this Friday, November 1st.
However, Michigan regulators are expecting application submissions from cannabis dispensaries to be lower than expected at first, since there is little to no supply. Marijuana cultivators will need to be some of the first applicants to acquire a license so they can plant seeds as soon as possible. The harvest will likely take at least three months and mandatory lab testing will also delay the process.
Executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Robin Schneider recently stated that, “I just don’t believe that we’re going to see a green rush of businesses running out to get those recreational licenses on the first day because of the lack of supply.” Friday’s submissions should serve as solid indicator for the amount of applications regulators will need to review for licensing.
There is already a shortage of cannabis in Michigan’s medical marijuana market and the transition into recreational sales could lead to a deficit if regulators don’t plan accordingly. Schneider explained that recreational marijuana retailers will probably have to wait until March or April before they can stock their shelves with legally grown and tested cannabis.
Once sales do commence, the potential for the Michigan cannabis market is estimated at $1.4 billion-$1.7 billion in annual sales within a few years of launching, making it one of the largest in the nation. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs released emergency cannabis rules for the industry in July, which allow for delivery and social use. The addition of these recreational marijuana businesses in the cannabis industry will generate even more tax revenue for the state.
The first day of application submissions will also be the last day for local jurisdictions to ban recreational marijuana businesses. A recent report found that as of August 31st, 308 of the 792 cities that approved the ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis have since passed bans on all cannabis business. According to Marijuana Regulatory Agency, there are 771 local towns that have passed ordinances banning cultivation facilities and cannabis retailers.
The first recreational marijuana business licenses are expected to be issued within two weeks of the first day of submissions on November 1st. Under the new regulations, 100-plant “entry-level” growers will have to pay a $4,000 licensing fee, while a 500-plant cannabis cultivation license will run $10,000. Recreational marijuana dispensary licenses will range from $20,000 to $30,000, while medical marijuana dispensary licenses will cost $66,000. Those who intend to apply for cannabis business license can consult the LARA website to apply online.