Michigan regulators have unveiled plans to launch adult-use cannabis sales in the state Dec. 1, although recreational business licenses have yet to be issued and supply may be limited as the market finds its footing.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced Nov. 13 that the licensed medical cannabis businesses in the state that have applied for adult-use licenses can sell up to half their inventory to the adult-use market starting Dec. 1, according to an MLive.com report. However, products must have been in the business’s inventory for at least 30 days before being transferred to adult-use customers, the news outlet reported.
Emergency rules for the state’s adult-use market were issued in July and remain in effect until Jan. 3, 2020, according to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website.
According to Matthew Abel, attorney for Michigan-based Cannabis Counsel P.L.C., executive director for Michigan NORML and a member of the Board of Directors for MI Legalize, there may be some retailers selling to the adult-use market on Dec. 1, but products may be hard to come by at first as businesses make the transition.
“I think the recreational marijuana that’s sold in the beginning will be quite expensive as long as demand outpaces supply,” Abel told Cannabis Business Times. “Eventually, the supply will catch up to the demand, but it’s likely to be many months before that happens.”
Supply has already been an issue in Michigan’s medical cannabis market, with some businesses reporting shortages in some parts of the state. Caregivers, once allowed to sell their products freely to the state’s licensed dispensaries, were barred from this practice in the spring by regulators. After public outcry, the state compromised and allowed caregivers to sell to licensed growers and processors, who would then test the products as part of the Metrc seed-to-sale tracking system and then sell the products to retailers, as long as they passed testing.
“That was to prevent the shortages in the medical market,” Abel said. “The caregivers still are selling to the growers and processors, so apparently, there’s not enough licensed medical [cannabis] to satisfy the market, but we’re allowing those that are licensed to sell rec. It seems like they’re trying to have it both ways.”
Supply may also be affected by municipalities’ bans