Michigan’s marijuana industry has made an astounding $1.63 million in sales during the first week of the state’s legal recreational marketplace — and that’s from just the five dispensaries that have opened so far. The morale is very high amongst the cannabis business owners, but, understandably, some of them are struggling to keep up with Michiganians’ demand for products. Lit Provisioning Centers, for example, ran out of flower just two days after they opened.
It’s about time cannabis users aren’t afraid about the possible threat of criminal charges over the possession of marijuana. However, that doesn’t mean Michigan isn’t still giving them trouble.
Through unilateral government action or through the votes of residents, the ban on pot sales is still in continuation by many local governments. This is the reason why the demand of pot sales is so high on the few operating dispensaries — almost 1,400 of Michigan’s 1,773 municipalities, including Detroit, have banned them. But it’s pushing recreational users in these districts to travel to a municipality where pot sales are legal. If they’re not doing that, they’re buying weed products from the black market.
The presence of marijuana black market is more dangerous today than it has ever before. Now, people aren’t just smoking flower. They’re consuming it through vaping devices in the form of oils — sparking a vaping crisis that has left 52 people dead.
The unfortunate casualties prompted the public to fly into a panic, calling for vaping bans throughout the country until the CDC finally confirmed the real source of the problem: illegally-sold marijuana vaping devices with harmful additives. These products were produced and sold from illegal sources, and disguised as legitimate dispensary products with convincing packaging.
And this is the major reason why it is important to legalize marijuana in the entire country. The only way to stop people from buying sketchy underground vaping products is to provide them with safe alternatives. Many will still resort to the black market if these safe options are only limited to few cities around the state.
By banning weed sales, local governments are losing out, too. They are willfully forgoing thousands of potential dollars. Right now, they’re earning nothing by forbidding dispensaries.
The tax collected by marijuana sales will pay a good amount of money to the municipalities with legal dispensaries. Ballot Proposal 1 allocates the first $20 million of tax dollars to research on the potential of marijuana in treating military veterans and preventing veteran suicide. The surplus will be split among counties and municipalities with marijuana retailers, the education fund, and transportation fund. And the state estimates tax revenue will hit $163 million by 2023.
To conclude, it would be correct to say that no marijuana sales means zero revenue from tax. But, more importantly, it also means putting Michiganians at continued risk — for no real reason at all.