As many cannabis users who began before the emergence of legalization did, I often daydreamed of what it would be like to walk down the street or drive a few minutes to a store, go inside and buy some marijuana. Like a bag of chips, but instead, a bag of marijuana.
Of course, the reality of legalization is a little different for those who have been able to experience it. It will likely never be like buying chips, but it is also nowhere near like buying alcohol; at least not in the beginning.
In the states that have legalized adult-use sales, those sales have generally started slow. Since this is obviously not a symptom of low demand or people somehow being unaware that buying marijuana was now legal for all adults, the culprit is ultimately lack of supply/places to buy. There are invariably shortages of product from a lack of licensed growers and long lines + high prices at the first few retail stores to open. A good example of this is Massachusetts.
So with cannabis sales now being made to adults in Michigan, what can consumers there expect? Well, for the foreseeable future, the same that consumers in other states have seen. Right now, only 3 stores are selling adult-use marijuana, and all 3 are in Ann Arbor. Evart and Morenci are expected to join the list of towns in the state where adults can buy cannabis for any reason soon.
In total, however, only about 130 communities are currently allowing cannabis businesses in Michigan, while over 1,400 have banned them. One of the jurisdictions taking a wait-and-see attitude is Detroit, which means even at full production, the adult-use industry in Michigan will be very limited in terms of reach.
This is the same thing that happened in California, hampering the legal industry there and leaving the black market relatively unaffected. So it’s likely that many in Michigan will not have anywhere close to purchase marijuana for quite some time.
Not that it’s all doom-and-gloom. Even limited adult-use sales are something to be celebrated. The walls of marijuana prohibition are coming down all over and a growing legal industry is taking their place. But progress will be slow and will continue to need to be fought for.
Michigan is starting down a path that Illinois will begin next month. Maine is expected to finally begin adult-use sales next year, and efforts are underway in multiple states to get recreational legalization on the ballot or through the legislature.
The momentum is still ours, but we can’t let up now.