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Michigan’s Demand for Adult Use Pot Is So High it’s Catching Dispensaries Off Guard

One shop ran out of flower two days after opening its doors.

New Mexico House Votes in Favor of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Dan Holm/ Shutterstock

Reports are coming in that Michigan’s fledgling recreational cannabis industry is seeing unexpectedly high sales. One dispensary located in the town of Evart saw so many customers that it had run out of marijuana flower within two days of opening. 

Northern Michigan’s first recreational dispensary, Lit Provisioning Centers, a property of Lume Cannabis Company, sold some $75,000 of recreational cannabis shortly after beginning to welcome customers only last Friday. 

“People traveled from across the state, braved the cold and stood in line for hours to be among the first to purchase recreational marijuana in northern Michigan,” said Lume Cannabis president and COO Doug Hellyar. “In under two days, we saw over 750 customers and did more than $75,000 in recreational sales, with the average customer spending $103.”

Lume runs a 12,000-plant growing facility in Evart, and plans to open nine new dispensary locations to add to the two that it already operates in Evart and Kalamanzoo. 

But for the moment, it’s working on supply issues. Hellyar said the company has 2,000 pounds of cannabis currently waiting to pass inspection. Customers at Lit Provisioning Centers will have to wait until next week to get their cannabis from the location. 

“We will replenish our inventory for adult-use early next week, once we’re able to transfer an additional 42 pounds of Lume flower into Lit’s inventory for adult-use,” Hellyar told the press. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to serving northern Michigan’s cannabis community for years to come.”

The first three of the state’s operational dispensaries — all located in Ann Arbor — began to sell to customers on December 1st, sparking long lines at many locations. $221,000 in sales was reported on the industry’s first day in business. 

That was right on time. Recreational cannabis laws took effect on December 6th of last year, and gave policymakers one year to get the first cannabis businesses licensed. The government accomplished that on November 19th, when it gave Exclusive Brands LLC’s Ann Arbor location the state’s first permit to sell recreational cannabis. 

Adult-use cannabis customers in Michigan are legally able to buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower at once. State law mandates a 10 percent excise tax on recreational marijuana, and a six percent sales tax. 

Scarcity may continue to be a problem in a state where 1,400, or 80 percent of municipalities have prohibited recreational cannabis businesses. Michigan has approved 10 business licenses, but only half of those have opened their doors to the public so far. Some of these bans, however, may be temporary as local legislators see how the nascent industry’s logistics pan out. 

Recreational cannabis was legalized by Michigan voters, who made the state the 10th in the country to approve adult use consumption when they opted for Proposition 1 in 2018 by a margin of 11 percent. The industry’s regulatory body began accepting business license applications at the beginning of November. The state’s medicinal marijuana was established by a ballot measure that passed in 2008. 

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