Life changing opportunities as significant as Michigan is currently laying the groundwork for are not something people see come along very often. Cannabis might be the last new major agricultural commodity introduced to economies worldwide. Whether we are talking about medical marijuana, adult-use marijuana or industrial hemp, the market in Michigan is expected to grow to around $200 million in just the next couple of years. If people choose to pass on this opportunity, when they look back on this time and reconsider their reasoning, they will have trouble understanding their decision.
Michigan has an incredible history. The beautiful pristine landscapes bordering the Lake of Michigan have provided outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers with incredible recreational ventures. The Detroit automotive industry is permanently emblazoned into the history books. The University of Michigan and Michigan State are recognized across the globe as top institutions for higher education and athletics.
Along with Michigan’s storied history has come an unfortunate stretch of economic struggle in some regions of the state. Michigan’s cannabis industry is the key to a new era of vitality and growth for the businesses and people of the Great Lake State for many reasons that you may not have considered.
Michigan Industrial Hemp and CBD
I will get to medical and recreational marijuana shortly, but I first want to start with hemp. If you were unaware, The Hemp Farming Act was a part of the 2018 Farm Bill that was signed into law in December of last year. It ended 80 bizarre years of prohibition on a plant that has no psychoactive effects (it can’t get you high), has many everyday uses, and is relatively easy and affordable to grow. It’s used as a source of food and energy, and its fibrous material is great for textiles. There is even a process in development where an enzyme is used to soften hemp until it is more like cotton but maintains its tensile strength.
Then there is the CBD market. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in abundance in the hemp plant and is considered one of the main medicinal compounds of the cannabis plant. It does not get people high. It is believed to have anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties to help combat chronic pain. A recent study by Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai in New York, one of the top scientists on addiction worldwide, found that CBD was effective in combating addiction relapses too.
Imagine if CBD was the key to curing people of addiction? The first cannabis derived pharmaceutical drug approved by the FDA is made with CBD as its main constituent to help people struggling with epilepsy reduce seizures. According to a recent report by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, the CBD industry in the U.S. is expected to be worth more than $20 billion by 2024. That’s extraordinary and is very promising for Michigan.
Needless to say, Michigan farmers have an incredible opportunity with hemp. Adding another crop to Michigan’s already diverse agricultural economy has significant implications for the future. According to MLive, 600 farmers already have received licenses to grow hemp in Michigan, that is before the FDA has even finalized rules and oversight of the federal hemp industry. In order to gain a license, farmers had to register with the state, pay a $100 registration fee and another $1,350 for the license to process and handle hemp. According to The Hemp Farming Act, cannabis qualifies as industrial hemp as long as it has THC content of .3% or less on a dry-weight basis.
It may seem complex, but this is why the CannaCon convention happening in Detroit in just a couple of weeks is essential. Education, networking and wholesale opportunities are essential for anyone interested in taking advantage of this opportunity and the booming cannabis industry in Michigan. Let’s talk about adult-use and medical marijuana now.
Adult-Use and Medical Marijuana
While the potential of the hemp industry is pretty amazing for Michigan, many people are excited that adult-use marijuana is now legal and that the first dispensaries should begin commercially selling marijuana to adults 21 years of age or older early next year. It is incredibly exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is ending the social injustice of prohibition. But, first let’s briefly go over the medical marijuana industry and its potential.
After waiting years for the medical marijuana program to start in Michigan, patients were finally able to access it late last year. In the first four months of sales over $42 million dollars worth of medical marijuana was sold with a limited amount of dispensaries open. Currently there are roughly 300,000 registered patients around the state with many more to come. All sorts of businesses are essential to Michigan’s medical marijuana program including growers, dispensaries, medical marijuana doctors, lab testing companies and more. CannaCon is a great place to learn about the medical cannabis industry in Michigan. Andrew Brisbo of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency will be speaking at the Detroit CannaCon expo on Saturday, June 22nd at 12:30. That will be a great seminar for anyone looking to get familiar with Michigan’s marijuana laws and oversight.
How exciting is it that adult-use marijuana should be available for legal purchase early next year? From a business perspective, you may not know just how exciting. During the November 2018 midterm elections, the biggest piece of cannabis news came from Michigan voters approving Proposal 1 which legalized the adult-use of marijuana and its commercial sale. To give you some perspective, Massachusetts, a state that legalized adult-use in 2016 but did not start selling it until November of last year, made nearly $24 million in just the first week with only a small handful of open stores. Let’s talk about Michigan’s potential once sales begin.
April of 2020 (4/20)
It is difficult to know how big the kickoff of recreational marijuana will turn out. I have no doubt that it will be big, I just don’t know how big. The years of anticipation just to walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana would be enough to provide an incredible economic windfall for Michigan. The big question though is just how excited people throughout the Midwest are about next April. April 20th is a big day for all marijuana enthusiasts, regardless of where they are in the world. But, the legalization wave hitting the United States is changing the dynamic of the 420 holiday and making it grow in popularity.
As an example, Bloomberg estimated sales for these four adult-use states from last year’s 4/20 holiday.
- California made about $6.9 million
- Colorado made about $9.1 million
- Nevada made about $3.5 million
- Washington made about 7.1 million
Those are big numbers for a single day. Dispensaries in each of those states put out promotions of all sorts leading up to the day and festivals were abundant. But, what about an entire month of 4/20? Next year will amazingly be 2020, therefore the entire month of April is 4/20. The possibilities for Michigan as the only Midwest state to offer the sale of recreational marijuana on the most anticipated marijuana holiday of all time are hard to fathom. Illinois just legalized adult-use marijuana last month, congratulations to Illinois! But, it takes states years to put together rules and oversight for a commercial recreational market. That makes everyone’s vacation destination in the Midwest for 4/20 next year, Michigan! The organization to pull it off the right way though is going to be difficult without the right knowledge and network. Hence why CannaCon Detroit is so very essential.
Considering all that is at stake for the financial future of Michigan’s cannabis industry at this exact moment, you can see why a B2B cannabis convention like CannaCon is absolutely essential. This is a new industry with unique challenges. We are all learning about it together and helping to build it. Attending CannaCon in Detroit this June 21st and 22nd at the COBO Center maybe one of the most important financial decisions you ever make. We look forward to seeing you and together we can make Michigan’s future brilliant!