Six months have passed since the historic voter approval of Prop 1, which legalized adult use of marijuana in Michigan. No “recreational use” stores have been licensed under the new law, but the state Marijuana Regulation Agency has indicated that rules and applications for such adult use stores will come out this summer, well ahead of the statutory Dec 6, 2019 deadline.
For the first two years of licensing, only companies that have already obtained facility licenses under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities and Licensing Act will have the opportunity to apply for recreational licenses to sell marijuana on demand to any adult over 21 at “marijuana establishments”.
This lag the in the new licensing process was intended to give a leg up to those who have spent the past 2 years struggling through the quagmire of the current state medical licensing process by temporarily preventing newcomers from entering the marketplace for marijuana sales. This two-year buffer might be shortened to one year by the state agency, and the Governor has already accelerated the licensing process, so by all appearances the first “adult use” stores should be in place by the Christmas holidays this year.
Until then, only medical patients can obtain marijuana at licensed “provisioning centers.” Everyone else has to get grass the old-fashioned way by growing their own (up to 12 plants at your residence) or getting up to 70 grams from a friend for “no remuneration”.
For now, the Saginaw-Bay City area has only a few fully licensed medical marijuana provisioning centers.
Many temporary operators have closed for now, and many are just coming on line in the month after the governor used her authority to eliminate, by Executive Order, the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board and the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR), and reorganize the marijuana licensing process under a new and improved Marijuana Regulation Agency (MRA).
Since then, the new state agency has demonstrated a commitment to issue licenses that had been languishing in regulatory purgatory for over a year, and this is resulting in a resurgence of hope within the nascent marijuana sales industry.
Now the biggest problem is obtaining wholesale marijuana to sell, due to the delay in licensing growers, and the MRA has solved that by allowing unregulated “caregiver” growers to sell their marijuana to about 50 licensed growers, who can then sell the pre-tested marijuana to provisioning centers.
Wholesale marijuana sells for about $3,000/lb. now, with price fluctuating based on quality. Consumers should expect prices to drop over time, as supply meets demand; and some states like Oregon, Washington, and even Colorado have seen catastrophic price collapses that have threatened the viability of the industry before a market equilibrium is reached.
For now, fully licensed stores are located in Chesaning, Vassar, Mount Morris, Flint, Bay City, Pinconning, Omer, and Tawas. In Chesaning, The Releaf Center is about to open its doors for the first time at 144 Broad Street, and Green Wellness Ventures is reopening “The River” just down the street at 101 N. Front.
In Bay City fully licensed stores are located at 3389 S. Huron, 3843 N. Euclid, 3915 Wilder, 1680 Marquette, and 3480 E. North Union. Vassar has 664 Vassar at 664 State Rd , and The Station at 302 E. Huron.
Pinconning has Green Acres Wellness Center at 4700 N. Huron. Michigan’s smallest city, Omer, has KTC Industries at 45 E. Huron and Great Lakes Northern Lights at 407 W. Center. Tawas has DJR Michigan Properties at 1730 N. US 23 and Oscoda has 989 Ventures at 635 S. State.
In Mount Morris HCM Provisioning is located at 9423 N. Dort Hwy and Five Star Relief is at 9286 N. Saginaw. In Flint, Bacco Farms is at 6200 N. Dort Hwy, Michigan Compassion Center is at 1222 Glenwood, Michigan Organic Solutions is at 3549 S. Dort Hwy, The Barn is at 3491 E. Bristol, MPM-R Flint is at 310 S. Averill, Green Bean Company East is at 408 Center, and Bigfoot Wellness is located at 4045 E. Court.
All these provisioning centers are in communities that “opted in” to medical marijuana licensing since 2017. In Saginaw County, Chesaning Village, Spaulding, and Buena Vista Charter Township have opted in. In Bay County, Bay City, Bangor, Gibson, Hampton, Kawkawlin, Monitor, and Pinconning opted in.
Under the new law, Prop 1, any town that does not affirmatively “opt out” is available for recreational licenses by default, and many municipalities have opted out to maintain the status quo while they wait for the state to adopt regulations under the new law.
Michigan has 276 cities, 257 villages, and 1,240 townships. In each of those municipalities individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments allowed within a municipality, even if the local government prohibits them, and put the matter to a vote if they get petition signatures of at least 5% of the votes cast for governor at the last gubernatorial election. Many municipalities will vote on the question this fall, and in Saginaw County the village of Chesaning has already opted in by passing a recreational adult use ordinance in May 2019.
At this time, the City of Saginaw has started a process to consider if, when, and how the city should opt into the Michigan licensing scheme. Saginaw’s Mayor Floyd Kloc, an experienced municipal attorney, was called to serve on the new state marijuana rules advisory board and has taken a measured approach and offers careful professional leadership for this important process. Councilpersons Annie Boensch (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jamie Forbes (email@example.com), and Bill Ostash (firstname.lastname@example.org) have already come out in favor of opening Saginaw to marijuana businesses.
The balance of Saginaw’s City Council Mayor Kloc (email@example.com), Brenda Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org), Michael Balls (email@example.com), Clint Bryant (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with Autumn Scherzer (email@example.com), and John Milne (firstname.lastname@example.org) are reportedly uncommitted.
For the voter’s part, Prop 1 passed in every precinct in the city just this past November.
The city has commissioned a push poll on the internet for city residents only at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7S57SP8.
Residents are encouraged to provide input though the survey, and also by connecting with the city council members by email and attending public meetings on the topic which will be announced at the city website www.saginaw-mi.com.