Heard on MichMash

Michigan Made $5 Million in Weed Taxes So Far. That’s Low.

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Image credit: Shiraz Ahmed / WDET

Early total sales numbers have been mellow. MichMash looks at why that is, and whether they’ll get higher.

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Michigan has released the recreational marijuana sales for the first three months of legalization.

The total sales are not super impressive.” — Robin Schneider, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association

While the numbers are in the millions of dollars, some in the marijuana community are feeling underwhelmed by the state’s sales.


Click on the player above to hear MichMash break down the current state of recreational marijuana in Michigan.


The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reported that from Dec. 1, 2019 to March 1, 2020, statewide marijuana total sales are at $31,971,862. The last week of February was the largest week so far with $4,334,402 in sales from Feb. 24 through March 1.

Those numbers sound like a lot, but when broken down, it’s resulted in a little over $5 million in taxes to the state. Advocates had predicted state revenue totaling about $130 million per year. So far, it looks like Michigan won’t collect anywhere near that this year.

As we get more grows up and running, we’ll be able to start to meet market demands, it’ll level out, and start to look like other states.” — Robin Schneider, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association

There are a few potential reasons for the state’s revenue going slower than other states saw when they got into the recreational marijuana game.

One is the lack of supply to meet the demand, said Robin Schneider, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association executive director.  According to Schneider, this stems from a lack of recreational grow facilities up and running at the start of recreational sales.

The total sales are not super impressive but over time as we get more grows up and running, we’ll be able to start to meet market demands, it’ll level out, and start to look like other states,” said Schneider.

But once those grows get up and going, there’s still a problem with major cities in Michigan still not having recreational marijuana shops. Both Grand Rapids and Detroit, the two biggest cities in the state, currently do not have recreational marijuana stores.

In Grand Rapids, the whole process of getting a shop within the city is currently in “limbo.” In Detroit, the city council is trying to find ways to make sure that people who have been disproportionately affected by the “War on Drugs” and cannabis prohibition in the past — especially low income people and people of color — will have a way into the market.

The question becomes, what will happen when the two biggest cities in Michigan finally open up marijuana shops. Will Michigan then be able to fill some of those potholes with pot revenue?


Correction, 12:04 pm, March 10th 2020: An earlier version of this story incorrectly states the cause of the recreational marijuana supply shortage. Robin Schneider says it is being caused by a lack of recreational grow facilities up and running at the start of recreational sales.

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Jake Neher, Producer, Detroit Today

Jake Neher is a producer and reporter for Detroit Today. He has formerly reported on the Michigan legislature.

Jake.Neher@wdet.org Follow @GJNeher

Cheyna Roth, Reporter

Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.

CRoth@mlive.com Follow @Cheyna_R

MichMash

This post is a part of MichMash.

Each week, WDET's Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth un-jumble Michigan issues and talk about how statewide news stories affect you. 

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