New Midwest Pot Customers Face Long Lines

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Photo by Cannabis Culture via Flickr

James Daly is eager to make marijuana history on Sunday, when he plans to open Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor, Mi., and legally start selling recreational pot for the first time in the Midwest, the Associated Press reports.

Daly’s shop is among six approved to start selling pot for adult use in December. The business is doubling staff and has fielded calls from potential customers across the state along with neighboring Ohio and Indiana.

Michigan and Illinois, which allow sales starting Jan. 1, are joining nine other states that broadly allow marijuana sales. Companies are rushing to complete renovations at dispensaries, expand their growing facilities, and get staff hired and trained.

The Midwestern states’ launch into the potentially lucrative recreational market comes at a turbulent time for the marijuana industry, which has been rocked by layoffs, the vaping health scare and investor disappointment with Canada’s marijuana program. In both states, a limited number of businesses have received licenses letting them sell recreational products.

The same retailers must keep enough product on hand to supply people certified as patients under medical marijuana laws. The conditions are “almost a guarantee” that Illinois and Michigan customers will experience long lines, product shortages and potentially high prices in the early stages, said Adam Orens of the Marijuana Policy Group.

More than 1,400 of Michigan’s nearly 1,800 cities, townships and villages are not allowing recreational businesses. In Illinois, seven months will have separated Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signing of legislation permitting people 21 and older to buy and possess marijuana and the start of sales in January.

Additional Reading: Expected Marijuana Tax Windfalls May Just Be Blowing Smoke, The Crime Report, Oct. 19, 2019

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