Recreational adult cannabis use went full legal in Michigan last week, making the state the first in the Midwest with a legalized marijuana program. So, that makes for some history in a nation plagued by a destructive drug war for generations.
But, black lining on that silver cloud: you still can’t buy legal weed anywhere in Michigan.
“People will get their cannabis on December 6th from the same place they got it on December 5th—the illicit market,” Rick Thompson of the legalization activist group MI Legalize told the Detroit Metro Times.
“Until the legal and regulated adult use market gets up and running there will be very little change in both the number of people using and the way cannabis is acquired in Michigan.”
So, they legalized cannabis by law, but what else has the state actually done to implement a legal marijuana market?
Not much, according to some cannabis advocates. The state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has not yet started accepting applications for cannabis business licenses.
Other state recreational programs may have problems, but at least many of them waited until they had a system in place. California waited more than a year after voters passed the recreational market initiative in 2016 before opening up the market in 2018. In the 14 months in between, the state government licensed manufacturers, growers, and retailers, and set up a government infrastructure to handle the new concerns of the legal cannabis business.
Michigan, on the other hand, voted to legalize cannabis only last month. Now the legal market has opened, so it’s not illegal to possess cannabis in small amounts. You just can’t get it anywhere.
“LARA’s made a big mess of this,” Matthew Abel, executive director of NORML Michigan, told High Times.
“What lawmakers should have done is focus on licensing growers and transporters, and enabling medical marijuana facilities to sell retail.”Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily