The Pandemic Has Been a Boon for Michigan’s Budding Marijuana Industry

Industry insiders discuss the health of the state’s pot economy amid COVID-19, just two years after Michigan voters legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older.

It’s 4/20, a day for cannabis enthusiasts to celebrate their natural substance of choice. It’s been more than two years since Michigan voters legalized marijuana for adults 21 years or older for recreational use, and it’s been more than a decade since we became a medical marijuana state. But the most noticeable differences have been popping up within the last year or so.

Cannabis has quickly gone from illicit drug at the center of police raids and felony convictions to a popular product that is advertised on billboards all over metro Detroit. And the pandemic has been a boon for the budding cannabis industry in Michigan. According to a recent report, Michigan’s marijuana industry now has more than 18,000 employees — more than twice as much as a year ago.

Listen: Marijuana industry insiders talk about how the state of Michigan’s pot economy amid the pandemic.


Robin Schneider is the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. In assessing the health of the marijuana industry over the past year, she says it has “had some ups and downs … we did have a few tough months where sales were dropping … but luckily over the last month we have reached record high sales,” she says. Schneider points to record-breaking retail sales of more than $100 million last month alone and says the industry in Michigan is expected to reach more than $1 billion this year. 

Anqunette Sarfoh is the founder of Qulture, an online CBD retailer and cannabis education company. She says the past year has been a positive one for marijuana advocates. She recalls talking about the potential reality that could go along with a strong legal marijuana industry here in Michigan. “Property values could increase, crime will not increase … all of those predictions have thankfully come to fruition. The data has shown there hasn’t been an increase in traffic fatalities, there hasn’t been an increase in teen use,” she says.

All of this has proven useful in crafting a new cultural narrative around marijuana and its benefits. “When it comes to customers, consumers and patients, I think they are realizing that the things they were told in the past [about marijuana] might not have been true,” says Sarfoh. 

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