Michigan’s recreational marijuana businesses started selling cannabis Sunday and sold more than 200-thousand dollars’ worth of product. There are now four marijuana stores open for business.
“It appears to have gone well for those who participated,” said Executive Director for the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, Andrew Brisbo. “I think it’s around what was expected in terms of there being a great deal of excitement and demand from the consumer side.”
But there is still work to be done by the department that reviews and issues licenses, as well as provides oversight of businesses.
“This is less reaching a finish line for us, so much as the start of our responsibilities in ensuring we’re fulfilling our mission,” said Brisbo.
That mission includes finding the balance between allowing businesses to succeed and protecting consumers.
Brisbo said a big part of how profitable recreational pot will be depends on local governments allowing the sale of marijuana.
“Because absent that, we can’t move forward with actual license applications,” Brisbo said. “So we can process a lot of those prequalification steps, but we can’t move forward with full licensure without that municipal authorization.”
The state stands to benefit from a strong recreational marijuana economy. The state gets a 10-percent tax on recreational marijuana. Brisbo said that money will start flowing in soon. The first 10 million dollars will go to repay the state general fund to implement the program. For at least two years after that, millions will go toward cannabis research. Roughly 50 million dollars later, money will start going towards roads and schools and certain counties.