The legal sale of adult-use cannabis will happen soon after Michigan regulators issued the program’s first business license on Tuesday.
While inside a retailer’s Ann Arbor store, the director of Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, Andrew Brisbo, issued three licenses to the leaders of Exclusive Brands. The licenses permit the business to grow, process, and sell adult-use pot.
The general manager of Exclusive Brands, Nick Warra, said that licensing marijuana businesses would help in breaking down decades of stigma surrounding smoking weed. While standing inside the Ann Harbor store, Warra added that buying weed will be like going to the liquor store to purchase alcohol.
Michigan residents approved the legalization of recreational marijuana through the ballot in November 2018. Since then, the state regulators have been working to develop a recreational licensing program.
However, medical marijuana patients are worried about the hurried issuance of adult-use business licenses because already, there is a shortage of medical cannabis products on the market, which may be made worse by the sale of recreational weed.
Last week, Michigan’s regulatory authority announced that medical marijuana businesses could sell 50% of their inventory to recreational cannabis customers. The first sale of adult-use weed is expected to be on December 1.
According to Warra, Exclusive Brands has had a medical marijuana business license since 2017. The business will start selling adult-use marijuana on Dec. 1. Delays in selling would be a result of the lack of a statewide tracking system for cannabis.
Warra also added that Exclusive Brands would be working closely with the vendors to make sure that they are ready to launch on December 1.
The selling date of recreational weed might be shifted to Dec. 2 because Dec. 1 falls on a Sunday, which comes immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. But, license holders have to request permission from the state regulators before using medical marijuana products for the adult-use market.
The spokesperson for the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, David Harns, said that it is uncertain when the sale of recreational pot will start.
Warra revealed that it is still uncertain how many people will show up for the first day of sales of recreational weed, but the numbers are likely to be overwhelming since recreational marijuana is widely popular among residents.
The executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Robin Schneider, criticized the agency decision allowing the transfer of medical marijuana to the recreational market by saying that already, there is a shortage of medical marijuana supply on the market and the transfers will only drive up the product cost for the patients.
However, Warra countered that there are enough products in their company to services both medical and recreational consumers. He also added that Exclusive Brands is in a position to grow, process, and sell its cannabis. He added that businesses that do not own cultivation and processing facilities are the ones that may experience limited supply.
The ability to transfer products from medical marijuana markets to the recreational side will allow retailers to move products where there is demand.
On Tuesday, MRA issued five licenses with two permits being awarded to Real Leaf Solutions, which is based in Kalkaska. It was granted an event organizer license. PSI Labs, which is based in Ann Arbor, was awarded a permit for a safety compliance facility.
Brisbo said that many more licenses would be awarded in the short term. Analysts believe this announcement is music to the ears of the broader cannabis industry, including companies like The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC), that would like to see more people enjoying the numerous benefits of marijuana.
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