Michigan launched recreational marijuana retail on December 1. And not surprisingly, retailers saw massive demand right out of the gate. So much so, in fact, that many shops have either started running out of product or have had to implement purchase limits.
One way or another, it seems clear that Michigan’s recreational market is off to a strong start—almost too strong.
According to Michigan news outlet MLive, there are currently 10 cannabis businesses licensed to participate in the recreational market. And so far, only five have actually started recreational sales.
Almost immediately, these shops saw massive demand. There were long lines reported at these dispensaries, located across the state.
All those lines translated into very active sales. According to local media, the first four shops to begin selling recreational weed combined for a total of $221,000 in sales on day one.
Weed Shops Try to Handle Massive Sales
Recreational retailers currently open in the state have taken actions to try and address all this activity.
Here’s a rundown of what shops have been doing:
- Greenstone Provisions said it ran out of weed on Sunday and Monday. They are trying to restock every day to keep up. Additionally, the shop started limiting customers to 7 grams per day.
- Michigan Supply and Provisions also ran the risk of running out of product. They instituted a purchase limit to try and avoid that happening.
- Arbors Wellness had to cap sales to an eighth per person to avoid shortages.
Recreational Marijuana in Michigan
Recreational marijuana in Michigan has gotten off to an interesting start. And that extends even beyond the initial product shortages.
Prior to the Dec. 1 start of recreational weed, it looked as if sales might not start until well into 2020. That’s because lawmakers were initially thinking about waiting for the first full harvest of products grown specifically for the recreational market.
However, authorities changed their minds on this issue in November. Instead of waiting for the next harvest to be completed, officials decided to expedite things and go for a Dec. 1 launch.
To make it happen, they made a temporary arrangement in which medical marijuana companies and dispensaries were allowed to transition a portion of their medical inventory over to recreational inventory.
Officials believed this plan would strike a balance. On the one hand, it would clear up enough inventory to get the recreational market up and running quickly.
And on the other hand, it would theoretically leave enough products on the medical side to avoid disrupting the state’s medical-marijuana program.
“This approach will allow for a transition to the adult-use market,” Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency spokesperson David Harns said in November. “Similar to the medical market, we expect it to be a slow build-out as the production of plants and products increases. This will create an environment where businesses can supply the market as quickly as possible.”
For many authorities, starting recreational sales earlier rather than later—even if it means seeing potential product shortages—was the better option. In particular, there were concerns about getting out in front of the illicit market.
Some feared that any delays in the recreational market would simply push more people to continue buying from illicit sources.