The first eight days of recreational cannabis sales in Michigan generated a total of $1.6 million, according to the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

Michigan became the 10th U.S. state to commence adult-use sales on Sunday, Dec. 1, although there are just five stores currently operating. More than 80% of communities across the state have decided to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries to open, meaning some Michiganders have to travel a considerable distance to reach the nearest store.

Despite the paucity of stores, state House Fiscal Agency has estimated that annual sales will reach $949 million when the market is fully established after 2020. That would result in 94.9 million from a special 10% excise tax and $57 million from the standard 6% sales tax.

Michigan plans to use the tax revenue to compensate communities previously impacted by the so-called war on drugs, while some will be used to boost public services.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency reported that sales totalled $1,629,007, bringing in $162,900 from the 10% state excise tax and $107,514 from the 6% state sales tax.

The university city of Ann Arbor is the early cannabis capital of Michigan. It has three stores – Greenstone Provisions, Arbor Wellness, and Exclusive Brands – open on the first day of marijuana sales and it attracted consumers from out of state to be part of the event.

That evening saw Michigan Supply and Provision in Morenci, near the Ohio border, throw open its doors. On Friday a fifth store, Lit Provisioning in Evart, northern Michigan, joined the party.

They have all reported selling out of marijuana, so they had to impose purchase limits on shoppers. Yet they should be able to enjoy a roaring trade in the months ahead, provided they can find a way to end the current supply shortage.

More than 1,400 of Michigan’s 1,771 communities have opted out of permitting marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency has awarded 21 licenses and approved a further 71, but a number of them are in communities that do not yet permit sales.

These communities are likely to allow stores to open once they develop the correct local ordinances, but in the meantime the handful of stores that are open should become attractive destinations for marijuana users. Meanwhile, the black market is expected to continue flourishing until more legal purchasing avenues open up.

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