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Recreational Marijuana Sales Off to Brisk Start in Michigan, Set to Take Off in Illinois

Add Michigan to the growing list of states permitting marijuana sales for adult recreational uses. And soon, Illinois, too.

 

Michigan voters approved medicinal uses of marijuana in 2008. A new law legalizing the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes by adults 21 and older took effect there on December 1, and sales started off with a bang

 

Total sales for the first 8 days of the month exceeded $1.6 million at the 5 retail shops licensed and open for business. The sales added to state coffers nearly $163,000 from the 10% excise tax on all sales and $107, 500 from the 6% sales tax on marijuana, according to published reports.

 

The state’s fiscal agency projects total sales of recreational marijuana will exceed $949 million next year, the first full year of legalization, and add about $152 billion in tax payments to the state treasury. Under a voter referendum approved in 2018, taxes collected on marijuana sales are earmarked for research on the benefits of medicinal uses of marijuana, an educational fund and a transportation fund for road improvements. A certain percentage also has been designated for revenue sharing between towns, cities, counties and the state government. The state also collects licensing fees from growers and other parties throughout the marijuana supply chain.

 

As of December 1, Michigan had issued 18 licenses to growers, processors and retail sellers of marijuana. For now, most retail marijuana dispensaries are located in and around Ann Arbor. And while more retailers are expected to be licensed by the state, USA Today is reporting that about 80% of municipalities in Michigan have opted out of allowing legal marijuana sales within their jurisdictions.

 

Up Next: Illinois

Michigan became the 8th state to legalize adult sales and use of marijuana. Vermont has legalized possession, but not sales, of marijuana, as has the District of Columbia. Beginning January 1, 2020, Illinois will become the 9th state to legalize both possession and sales of marijuana for adult recreational uses.

 

According to reporting by the Chicago Sun Times, only a few dozen recreational dispensaries are expected to be open for business on January 1, but 37 of the state’s 55 medical dispensaries have been awarded licenses to also begin selling recreational weed beginning next month. The state licensing authority – the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – is still reviewing an unknown number of additional applications for recreational dispensary licenses.

 

The Illinois state legislature passed a marijuana legalization bill in June that also includes sweeping criminal justice reforms. The new law would expunge the records of hundreds of thousands of residents who were convicted of marijuana possession under previous laws.

 

Illinois previously authorized the sale and use of marijuana for medicinal uses, in 2013, and in 2018 it decriminalized possession of marijuana. The 2018 law also set standards for assessing THC impairment that could lead to a DWI citation.

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