If you follow Michigan cannabis news, you know it’s been a busy year so far with what’s going on in Michigan’s cannabis market. The Michigan cannabis industry has been booming, or should we say blooming, ever since the state started marijuana business licensing in 2018, followed shortly by the first recreational sales in December of 2019.
The cannabis market in Michigan is moving at a swift pace. In just the past few months we’ve seen everything from record-breaking sales to several different proposed changes to different Michigan marijuana laws and regulations that cannabis business owners and operators need to know.
Michigan was already predicted to be a major cannabis market and is continuing to prove those early forecasts correct. With so much going on in the Michigan cannabis industry, we’ve collected everything you need to get you caught up on Michigan’s current cannabis news, as well as prepare you for what is expected to become one of the largest marijuana markets in the United States.
How are Cannabis Sales Going in Michigan?
Cannabis sales in Michigan have been breaking the previous month’s sales records regularly.
In July of 2021, cannabis sales in Michigan hit an all-time high, totaling over $171 million. This recording breaking sales total included both medical and recreational marijuana sales. Stats from July’s sales totals already make Michigan a $2 billion-per-year cannabis market, and there’s still plenty of time in the year left to increase that number.
Recreational marijuana, also referred to as adult-use, is continuing to outpace the sales of medical marijuana in Michigan. In the state’s newest report for August, medical marijuana sales came in at $40 million, while recreational marijuana sales totaled over $125 million. With $165 million combined August doesn’t top the monthly records set in July, but it shows a rapidly growing industry where marijuana is in high demand.
What’s Going on With Michigan’s Cannabis Laws?
The cannabis laws in Michigan are shifting once again as the marijuana businesses in the state continue to expand. Some of the proposed changes to Michigan’s cannabis laws include restrictions on billboard marketing, new types of licenses, and a social equity program.
Proposed Billboard Ban
Because cannabis is still illegal at a federal level, there are very strict guidelines and tight restrictions on how cannabis can be marketed to the public. One way many cannabis business owners have found to get the word out about their business is by using billboards. That’s right, good old-fashioned billboard marketing has been great for cannabis companies struggling to find ways to market to their customers.
Cannabis business owners in Michigan may not be not be able to take advantage of this advertising opportunity if they get banned. Banning cannabis billboards is the goal of a new bill filed this year by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. They told reporters they don’t want children exposed to cannabis advertisements on billboards and believe modern consumers are going to learn about cannabis companies through other means. The bill has yet to pass at this time but is something to be aware of about cannabis advertising in Michigan.
New License Types and Other License Changes
There are now two new types of marijuana licenses in Michigan, thanks to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency who recently proposed a new set of rules for cannabis businesses. The public had until Sept 27 to review and weigh in on the topic before any decisions are made final.
The new licenses include a marijuana educational research license and class-A microbusiness licenses. The new educational research license would allow educators and researchers to grow and buy legal marijuana to use in research studies. This will help schools and other research facilities to learn more about the plant and create cannabis education curriculums.
The new class-A microbusiness license expands on the current microbusiness license that allows small marijuana businesses to operate under similar regulations as boutiques and microbreweries.
The newly proposed rules also recommend lowering certain marijuana licensing fees in Michigan, which can make getting started in the Michigan cannabis industry a little easier.
The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is suggesting the following fees be reduced;
- Marijuana business licenses application fees – $6,000 to $3,000
- Class C Cultivation permits and processor licenses – $40,000 to $24,000
- Retail, testing lab, and transporter permits – $21,000 to $15,000
New Social Equity Programs
The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency has a social equity team that announced their new Joint Ventures Pathway Program (JVPP). The program is intended to connect social equity participants with businesses that actively seeking social equity partnerships. These sorts of connections include employment, mentorships, incubator programs, and joint business ventures. You can learn more about the JVPP here.
What Does the Future of Michigan’s Cannabis Market Look Like?
he future of Michigan’s cannabis market looks bright and could be from all the flower that’s being lit in the state. Data shows that in addition to historic sales numbers, the amount of cannabis flower being sold in Michigan is also increasing dramatically. To give you an idea of how high demand is becoming, only 3,690 pounds of cannabis flower was sold in Michigan in March of 2020. In July of 2021, that number catapulted to 24,389 pounds of cannabis flower being sold in the state. 75% of which was recreational.
On top of increasing demand from consumers, business is expanding right along with the demand. In September 2021 there were a total of 360 businesses licensed to sell recreational marijuana in Michigan. That’s more than double the amount compared to September of 2020.
Once you consider all of this, plus add in the record-breaking sales that took place in July to make Michigan a $2 billion market, Michigan’s future looks promising for new and old businesses alike. If the newly proposed licensing fees do get reduced, it will lower the barrier of entry for new businesses to get started. If the market continues at its current pace, Michigan is on track to be one of the largest marijuana markets in the Midwest.