Michigan officially became U.S. state number 10 to legalize recreational cannabis usage in defiance of federal law earlier this week.
Any adult 21 or over gained the legal right to purchase and carry cannabis as of Dec. 1, with that first day of recreational sales seeing hours-long lines at the Greenstone Provisions, Arbors Wellness, and Exclusive Brands shops in Ann Arbor.
Michigan Live reported the Exclusive Brands store served 900 customers on the first day of sales, while Arbors Wellness eventually had to turn away customers at a city-mandated closing time.
Adult use legalization arrived after the passage of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act last year, which stipulates that licensing is handled by the Department of Regulatory Affairs.
18 separate licenses for growing and selling were issued on day one, with existing medical dispensaries allowed to convert half of their stock to recreational sales.
That aspect of the new law has created an opportunity for existing companies supplying medical dispensaries as well as multi-state licensed producers looking to move into the recreational side of the industry.
The period between October and November saw more than $269 million in medical sales across all Michigan dispensaries.
For now, most adult use sales are taking place in Ann Arbor, with the first day seeing in excess of $220,000 in cannabis purchases.
An estimated 80% of municipalities across the state have opted out of allowing recreational sales at this point, including the city of Detroit.
That move by the Detroit City Council effectively means only medical dispensaries will be allowed to operate within city limits until a new vote takes place in February.
Although Michigan borders other areas with legalized cannabis, transporting any amount across state lines remains illegal under federal law.
Robin Schnedier, Executive Director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, commented on the changes coming to the state after legalization:
Aside from Michigan, Illinois adult use recreational sales will also officially begin on January 1, 2020, marking the 11th state to end prohibition.
Cannabis legalization has already made an impact in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential election, with Democratic contender Joe Biden signaling he opposes legalization earlier this month.
Current Presidential contender Amy Klobuchar has stated her support for legalization, as did Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke before eventually dropping out of the race.
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