Mt. MORRIS TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/13/19) - The winter forecast may be windy and white, but come December, Michigan will become a lot more green.
An advisory bulletin was released Wednesday announcing recreational marijuana retailers can begin legally selling the drug in Michigan on Dec. 1.
Nearly 80% of Michigan communities are opting out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses within their borders, at least for now.
Not every medical marijuana business will be able to take advantage of the new regulations.
"The communities would get a portion of the tax revenues that would come in," said Brandi Rice-Simpson, the general manager at Light’N Up Provisioning and Microbuddery in Mt. Morris Township. "It would create a lot more jobs, considering that a lot of these facilities are going to see a lot more revenue."
She also predicts a lower crime rate with legalized marijuana sales.
"It's going to definitely put a hinder on the black market, as these facilities have tested, regulated marijuana for consumers," Rice-Simpson said.
According to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, current medical marijuana businesses can transfer up to half of their inventory to the recreational market. That's as long as the state has already granted the business a recreational license.
The state started accepting and approving those licenses at the beginning of the month.
While the new rule can allow for big corporations to continue flourishing, it leaves some local growers with scarce supply. Light'N Up is a small local and veteran-owned company, and Rice-Simpson said they aren't getting a fair shot.
"We're very worried that basically the medical marijuana market hasn't leveled out as far as having enough facilities to grow for the demand, so we're worried that if the facilities that are already growing for the medical take 50% of that and put it for the recreational users, we're kind of wondering where that would leave us," she said.
The MRA expects the first license to be issued at the end of the month, but you likely won't see product in stores until the first quarter of 2020.