Recreational Marijuana Sales May Be Delayed Past Dec. 1 Due To 'Bad Planning'

WWJ News
November 22, 2019 - 12:06 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - Recreational sales of marijuana in Michigan were expected to start on December 1 -- but some bad planning could push that date back.

Voters decided to legalize marijuana for recreational use back in 2018, but stores have not yet opened as regulators continue to work on licensing. 

Last week, regulators announced a rule change that would allow medical marijuana businesses with approved adult-use licenses to transfer half of their medical product for recreational sales, months earlier than originally planned, on Dec. 1.

The problem? Dec. 1 is a Sunday capping off the long Thanksgiving weekend.

To transfer medical marijuana for adult-use sales, retailers have to move their inventory on the state's tracking system, which then needs to be approved by state regulators before sales can take place. Since state employees won't be working on Sunday, that pushes the first day for recreational sales to Monday, Dec. 2 at the earliest, possibly even Tuesday, Dec. 3. 

Andrew Brisbo, Director of Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency, said not looking at the calendar was an oversight. 

"It's a challenge because I can't force my staff, they're civil servants, to come in and work over the Thanksgiving weekend," Brisbo told WWJ's Charlie Langton. "That was a little bit of bad planning on our part, but we want to provide an opportunity for businesses to move ahead."

Brisbo said there is a very slight chance to find a solution that would still allow the Dec. 1 date to hold. Althought he's not very optimistic, he said regulators are looking at their options. 

Under the law, it is legal for Michigan residents and visitors to have up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana on them and up to 10 ounces (284 grams) at home, as well as up to 12 plants.

Currently, Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor is the only licensed adult-use retailer in the state, but Brisbo expects other businesses to receive their licenses in the coming weeks. So far, 31 retailers have submitted applications.