Michigan's already booming marijuana industry expected to grow this year

Posted at 5:23 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 07:38:28-04

(WXYZ) — Detroit's new marijuana ordinance takes effect on Wednesday. Some of those who wish to open recreational cannabis businesses can apply for a license, and only 100 licenses will be awarded.

You can apply if you plan are marijuana growers, processors, transporters, safety compliance companies and marijuana event organizers. Licenses for retail businesses and consumption lounges are not yet available.

Licenses for growing and processing operations will not be capped, and cannabis regulators say this will be huge for Michigan's already booming industry.

The state now had the third-largest cannabis job market in the country, and adding Detroit will help it grow even more.

The way the ordinance is written is that 50 licenses will be set aside for social equity applicants. This includes long-time Detroiters and people who live in communities where marijuana-related convictions are greater than the state average.

Officials say it's reparation of sorts for those most impacted by the war on drugs.

Dr. Donise Floyd, the CEO and Founder of Legacy Greens, has shifted her focus to using her company to give back to the community.

"Those very people that you locked up and those very people – families that were ruined because this is a generational thing, let's take that opportunity to restore. To me, that's the essence of social equity," Floyd said.

Floyd is already pre-approved from the state, but she will have to jump through hoops at the local level. She's secured the capital, and now she's looking for a building in the city.

Detroit recreational marijuana ordinance in effect

To date, there are 1,336 active licenses for recreational marijuana businesses in the state.

Andrew Brisbo, the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency, said that's more than double what the state had two years ago.

Voters approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018, and sales begin in December 2019.

Related: Michigan communities to split $42 million of marijuana tax revenue

"Michigan is a very free market system so that creates smaller businesses, it creates more businesses, and it generally creates more jobs as you have more people opening doors whether that's not the cultivation or the retail side," Brisbo said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more people working in the marijuana-related field than there are firefighters in the state.

Michigan's marijuana industry is on pace to make $2 billion in sales this year, and some will trickle down to the local level.

Jerome Crawford, who oversees legal operations and social equity for Pleasantrees, said opening a cannabis business can be challenging when you're navigating different licensing rules in different cities.

"What is interesting about Detroit is they are blending elements they have some elements that are purely a competitive review process where there are going to be points ultimately assessed. You also have some lottery elements to it," he said.

Floyd said scoring the license means she'll be able to "RIDE" for her people, which stands for Restore – Invest – Develop – Educate the community.