With the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer administration allowing 50% of the medical marijuana product to be used to feed the high demand for adult pot users, an industry group claims to have data suggesting that within two months the medical marijuana product could “run out.”
That assessment is from Robin Schneider from the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association (MICIA), the pot industry association that fears the state’s decision to accelerate the start date for adult pot use by half a year will have consequences for patients.
The state has 145 licenses approved to grow marijuana on the medical side and 10 approved to grow on the recreational side. More license growers keep rolling in for both medical and adult use every week, according to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
Marijuana businesses are not required to move medical products over to adult use. It’s an optional solution for retailers who have products on their shelves that aren’t selling and choose to move it over to the adult use side.
Schneider said on Off The Record that the original rollout date for the adult market was “spring of 2020,” but out of nowhere the MICIA got word from inside the Governor’s administration that Dec. 1 was the new date.
“We were unanimously opposed and we tried to stop it,” she reported.
She used her contacts in the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and the governor’s office to slap a hold on the decision, but when she contacted one of the governor’s staffers she was told the request could not be forwarded to the Governor because she was en route to Israel.
Schneider told reporters that she at a loss to explain why this new hurry-up date was implemented and who was pushing for it.
In the wake of that, the cost of pot has skyrocketed due to the high demand with low product availability, she reported. The group hired a data scientist research firm to crunch the numbers on what might happen if the administration continues to redirect medical pot into the adult market.
The analytics indicated “depending on how many transfers happen over time to the rec. (recreational pot) it could be sooner than two months.”
The MICIA would like to see the state readjust that 50% figure as it still tries to figure out why that number was chosen in the first place.
“They turned on the faucet but it should be turned down to a trickle . . . what about the patients? We could be sending them back to the black market,” she said.
The state’s marijuana regulators contend they had to strike a balance in making sure patients had access to medicine while still implementing the ballot proposal that the voters passed last fall.
The initial rollout of recreational marijuana was described as a “small, measured soft opening” with 11 of the 175 state-licensed provisioning centers permitted to sell on the adult-use side.
“This approach lets businesses maintain their inventory for patients while allowing marijuana consumers to leave the illicit market and purchase products that have passed tests at state-licensed facilities,” said LARA spokesperson David HARNS.