As sales of recreational marijuana soar in Michigan, other parts of industry struggle | Michigan Radio
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As sales of recreational marijuana soar in Michigan, other parts of industry struggle

Dec 9, 2019

(file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s marijuana regulatory agency says the new recreational retail market is off to a “normal shakeout”.

In the first eight days since the retail market became legal, Michigan’s handful of recreational marijuana stores sold more than $1.6 million worth of cannabis products. 

But not everyone in Michigan’s marijuana industry is happy.

The Michigan Regulatory Agency is allowing licensed businesses to shift up to half of their inventory, over 30 days old, from the medical to the retail market.  

That’s exacerbating a shortage, says Regina Momgaudas. She says she’s also seen wholesale prices for cannabis products double since the state opened the door to recreational sales. Momgaudas says it’s discouraging patients who come to her dispensary. 

“The lack of product is making it even more difficult getting them back into my building,” says Momgaudas.

There’s also been a problem with recreational shops running out of cannabis products. 

“I was very transparent from the beginning, that undoubtedly, in the initial stages demand was going to exceed supply,” says Andrew Brisbo, the director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. 

Brisbo and other staffers from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency met with industry officials and citizens during a forum Monday in Flint.

They heard many complaints about the recreational retail rollout.

Brisbo says he was not surprised by what he heard.

“A lot of it is the normal shakeout, when a market is new supply is not going to meet demand in the beginning,” says Brisbo.

Brisbo says recreational supply is rising, but he expects it may be a long time before the marijuana market place settles down.

He noted that the medical marijuana market was still struggling to settle down despite being in place for a long time. 

Brisbo expects marijuana supplies will grow, but he also expects demand will grow as well, with potentially several million Michiganders interested in consuming recreational products.

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