Michigan is expanding its cannabis market to curb black market sales

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The state is set to approve several new licenses that will help it push out the underground market

The state of Michigan looks to fight the black market by allowing more cannabis growing, processing, and selling licenses for the cannabis industry. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency will begin accepting applications from prospective businesses beginning March 1, 2021.

In the past, previous cannabis industry experience was a requirement that basically limited those who were eligible to those who came from the medical marijuana industry. The application process for a license as a marijuana retailer, marijuana processor, marijuana grower or marijuana secure transporter is much more open as the states look to fight the illegal cannabis market. Illegal cannabis products are not grown or processed under regulated safety measures and can contain harmful contaminants.

According to the Michigan State Police’s Marijuana Tobacco Investigation Section, 83 % of the seizures of illicit cannabis happen in areas where there is no legal cannabis business, and the new licensing plan seeks to allow more legal cannabis industry businesses so that they can effectively take the business from those illegal operations.

Detroit has seen a 36 % increase in narcotics-related homicides and a 214 % increase in cannabis-related shootings, in the past year, according to city officials. Michigan officials believe that as more municipalities consider ordinances to allow cannabis business in the jurisdictions, the current eligibility restrictions stand in the way of creating a regulated and safe cannabis industry, and that more municipalities allowing the legal cannabis business are necessary to further reduce the negative impact of black-market cannabis in Michigan.