Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Does Anyone Know What Legal Marijuana Will Look Like in 2020?

In 2008, Michiganders voted to become the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana. Ten years later, another measure was passed to make recreational marijuana legal in the State of Michigan as of 2020. Throughout the last two years, we have seen lots of medical marijuana facilities open and close around Detroit proper, but we haven't seen much happening outside of their jurisdiction. However, we suspect that when recreational becomes legal, this is going to change. Many cities have already decided that they will allow companies to grow and maybe even sell within their zip code, but nothing has been set into stone. The truth is that the new laws are open to interpretation and there is no clear picture of what recreational marijuana will look like in 2020.
(Photo from Crain's Detroit)
Instead of speculating, we decided to see if we could talk to the owners of The REEF, our favorite dispensary in the area, to find out how they are going to handle recreational when it becomes legal in just under four months. They opened their doors and took us on a quick tour and let us ask them anything we that we wanted to know. What we found was a company that is doing everything that they can to give patients the best experience possible while staying within the laws. Unfortunately, doing that is not as easy as you would think. One of the first big changes that the company had to embrace after the last vote was where they were sourcing their medicine from. Before 2018 they could get the product from a variety of sources, but now they can only buy from companies that are also licensed and there are a limited amount of places to do this, which means the supply is outpacing the demand. In fact, on the day that I visited they were temporarily out of flower while they were waiting for a shipment. It was one of the first times that they had been out of medication and it was only for a few hours, but this was a direct effect of the new laws on their business. Plus, once they got it in, they had to go through it, and label it before they could get it out, which also cuts into their business and ability to serve their patients. All of their medication has to be tracked and accounted for before it can go on the shelves. This tracking system also means that everything that they sell can be traced back to the seed and the grower who grew it so, just like other medications if there was a flaw with the product they would be able to take it off the shelf and warn anyone who bought it. This is very time consuming for the business but as a consumer, I think that it's cool to know that you can find out exactly where your medicine came from and exactly what is inside of it. 

Another interesting part of the new law is that the recreational and medical products must be kept and sold separately. Which means that The REEF will actually have to redesign their space to service two different types of clients. This also means that yes, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana will be different. Patients will still have access to better products than recreational buyers. So, if you need medication, make sure you see a doctor, don't want for 2020 to take care of yourself. We also found out that some cities are granting growing and dispensing licenses to people that plan to do both things in the suburbs once the law lets them, but they were unwilling to share when and where that would be happening. Basically, we found out that no one really knows that 2020 will look like, but some of the long-time legit dispensaries like The REEF are setting themselves up to be able to serve everyone when the time comes. So for now, we wait and we see what the future has to hold.


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