Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

Original Post: High Times: Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

[Canniseur: In New Mexico water is a major issue, especially in the south. Cannabis is an agricultural product and as such must be grown on land zoned for agricultural uses. Although water isn’t currently a major issue in New Mexico, cannabis is a water intensive crop … mostly. Mostly is because there’s a method called dry farming. Dry farming is more difficult and somewhat more labor intensive. Maybe dry farming makes better cannabis, but I don’t know this for a fact. As cannabis becomes legal through out the U.S. the industry will need to find a better way to make the best use of agricultural water and resources.]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More medical marijuana plants are being grown in New Mexico than ever, and the crop could be straining local water supplies.

Two rural water systems in Sandoval County say the crop may be depleting local water supplies, and they say they have been left powerless to stop it, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The Peña Blanca Water and Sanitation District and Sile Mutual Domestic Water and Sewer Association sent a letter last month to state agencies and legislators describing their concerns over their disappearing water resources.

The water system representatives say New Mexico’s patchwork of medical marijuana regulations has not kept up with the increased strain on rural water supplies.

“The (cannabis) companies may think that the water rights were already taken care of when they purchased the property,” Peña Blanca district president John Gurule said. “We see the potential for these farms to bring economic growth to a rural community, so how do we support that growth while bringing water to our residents?”

The groups are asking that all producers applying for a medical cannabis license prove a valid water right for commercial agriculture with the Office of the State Engineer.

The Sile water system serves 154 people west of the Rio Grande between Cochiti and Kewa pueblos. The Peña Blanca system is responsible for delivering water to 448 people on the east side of the river between the same pueblos.

An average household in the Peña Blanca system uses about 3,000 gallons of water a month, president John Gurule said.

A cannabis farm with greenhouses in Peña Blanca that began operating last year is logging 20,000 gallons of domestic water use per month.

The board members say the increases could point to treated drinking water being used for cannabis irrigation.

New Mexico legalized medical cannabis in 2007. Domestic well water may not be used for agriculture in the state. Farmers must irrigate cannabis or other crops with another water source by acquiring a valid water right.

John Romero, director of the Water Rights Division and the Resources Allocation Program for the Office of the State Engineer, said the affected mutual domestic water systems have a history of poor infrastructure, limited revenue, too many connections, and water overuse. The increase in cannabis production and alleged improper water use may be exacerbating those issues.

“Cannabis hasn’t helped this situation. It is illegal to use domestic well water for agriculture, but it is up to (Sile and Peña Blanca) to enforce that,” Romero said. “We can’t police every mutual domestic water association, but we will work with them and help to see if these properties have a valid water right for what they want to do.”

Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies was posted on High Times.

Recreational marijuana rollout in Michigan could be national model for how not to do it, industry insider says

Recreational marijuana rollout in Michigan could be national model for how not to do it, industry insider says

[Canniseur: The cannabis industry in Michigan been plagued by issues going back to the medical-only cannabis market. Lack of supply is the first issue. Second, the commission charged with the task of running Michigan’s cannabis programs shows their incompetence. Michigan is not ready to sell recreational cannabis. There aren’t enough outlets and there isn’t enough inventory to supply the state. The saddest part is there are several good models and one that’s already in Michigan; alcoholic beverages. There are some successful state adult-use cannabis programs as well that can easily contain elements in Michigan.  Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington state all have programs with many good features. Why the commission won’t look at these programs and copy the best parts is beyond us. Maybe it’s a NIMBY thing. Maybe it’s self-righteousness. Perhaps it’s arrogance. Who knows? The commission needs people who aren’t afraid to look at what works elsewhere and implement it. Right now Michigan is a mess. My prediction? In the near long-term, the black market will be the winner.]

Michigan’s rollout of legal adult-use recreational marijuana this month was “not well thought out” and will likely further exacerbate an ongoing shortage in legal marijuana product, the executive director of a group representing nearly 200 licensed medical marijuana businesses said Friday.

During an interview on WKAR’s Off the Record Friday morning, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Robin Schneider said the Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s decision to move up retail recreational market sales from spring 2020 to Dec. 1 was an unwelcome surprise for many in the industry.

“Unfortunately, I think Michigan is going to become the national model of how not to roll out an adult-use program,” she said on the show.

The state licensing agency had previously planned to require product destined for the recreational market be grown from scratch, meaning it would take at least one grow cycle — until March or April — before harvested marijuana could be sold at retail locations.

That changed when the Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued a rule making it possible for businesses that already have marijuana product grown or acquired under its medical licence to transfer it to the recreational side beginning Dec. 1.

Schneider said due to initial roadblocks in approving growing licenses and ongoing bottlenecks in the testing process, the state is 10 times behind where it needs to be for production to fulfill the needs of the market. That could become an even bigger problem soon, especially for medical marijuana patients, she said.

“We have such a shortage of product right now – our state is already at risk of running out of cannabis completely due to the early rec sales,” she said, later adding: “We might be sending patients back to the illicit market before this is over.”

Had the state stuck to the original schedule, Schneider said the industry would have been better prepared for the demand, and likely would have brought in more than the $1.6 million in sales posted during the first week of recreational marijuana in Michigan.

“We should have done much better than that,” she said. “That’s not anything that will give us bragging rights…it was not rational, it was not well thought out, it was not well prepared.”

Agency spokesperson David Harns said the state has to balance the need to make sure patients have their medicine and implementing the will of the voters.

He said the initial rollout was meant to be a small, measured soft opening, and noted marijuana businesses are not required to move medical product over to recreational: “It’s just an option for those who want to take advantage of it.”

Harns said the influx of demand for adult-use marijuana was expected, and said the state continues to license growers for both medical and adult use.

“Whenever the adult-use market turned on, there was always going to be a shortage,” he said. “It will be a matter of time until the market stabilizes.”

State budget officials are projecting recreational marijuana to become a $1.5 billion-per-year industry by late 2021. The $1.63 million in sales that came in during the first week translates to nearly $270,414 in tax revenue for Michigan between Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, including a 10 percent excise and 6 percent sales tax.

Since recreational sales became legal Dec. 1, heavy demand has led many marijuana shops around the state to institute purchase limits, and one shop ran out of product after serving 750 customers in two days.

See where marijuana businesses are licensed in Michigan:


San Francisco’s First Black-Owned Dispensary To Open This Month

San Francisco’s First Black-Owned Dispensary To Open This Month

Original Post: High Times: San Francisco’s First Black-Owned Dispensary To Open This Month

[Canniseur: Given all the talk about creating chances for equality in the cannabis market, it’s kind of surprising it took this long to get a black-owned dispensary in San Francisco. In an ironic twist, it’s opening in The Haight, as in Haight Ashbury, ground-zero for the hippies in the 1960s and 1970s.]

Growing up, San Francisco’s first Black dispensary owner Shawn Richard sold marijuana on the streets of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. He was far from the first person to do so. The Haight gave birth to the 1960s hippie movement and cannabis has long been a cornerstone of the area’s culture.

But now, on December 21, Richard will open the doors of Berner on Haight, the neighborhood’s very first legal marijuana dispensary.

Speaking of pioneer moves, Richard is also the city’s first business owner to emerge from its cannabis equity program. His success is an encouraging sign that San Francisco is taking some action to reverse the long-running injustices of the Drug War, and in so doing, support a Black community that has dwindled dramatically over the last decade.

“This is going to be a store like no other store,” Richard told High Times in a phone interview. “It’s going to be real up to date, real modern, but it gives you that Haight Street feeling when you walk in.”

Richard is partnering with San Francisco-born rapper Cookies a.k.a. Gilbert Milam, already a cannabis industry pro who opened his fifth eponymous marijuana store earlier this month in Oakland. But the two hit a snag when they went to name their Haight Street location. San Francisco regulations prohibit dispensaries from marketing themselves with kid-friendly language, and apparently “Cookies” didn’t cut it as an appropriate cannabis store name in the eyes of the authorities. The two opted to dub the project Berner’s, after Cookies’ alias.

That’s not to say that city bureaucracy hasn’t assisted the project in other ways. Richard is the first graduate of the San Francisco Office of Cannabis’ equity program, which prioritizes and gives financial support to businesses led by entrepreneurs who have been previously impacted by the War on Drugs; low income would-be business owners; longtime city residents; and those who live in low income neighborhoods.

The city also requires all prospective cannabis business owners to demonstrate how they will support equity partners to take part in the industry. But the equity program remains largely undefined, notwithstanding a series of six-week educational workshops that have been offered for potential entrepreneurs.

With his history of activism in the community, Richard was a natural choice for the program’s first equity partner. He started a 501(c)3 named Brothers Against Violence over 25 years ago.

He also spent three years at Folsom State Prison for selling cocaine. He first started dealing at 13, and found it hard to leave the illegal industry. He returned to selling drugs after his incarceration, and really only got out of the game in 1995 when his little brother died as a result of gun violence.

Since founding Brothers Against Violence, Richard has been working to keep his community members safe. But when the opportunity arose to open a cannabis dispensary with assistance from the city government, Richard knew he had to take it.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m not getting any younger,’” he remembers. “I need to start chapters in my life. Now, not only can I put together a retirement plan for myself, I can put together money for my family, and this could rekindle multi-generational wealth.”

And the chance to become the Haight’s first legal dispensary owner, after all the world famous neighborhood’s decades of smoke-filled street corners, seemed too good to be true.

“When the opportunity came and I heard that everybody was trying to get up on Haight — me and my dude, we just work smarter,” says Richard. “Just put it into play.”

Richard’s family has lived in the nearby Fillmore neighborhood for generations — his grandfather ran a Mexican restaurant on Haight Street back in the day. The entrepreneur moved to the Bayview neighborhood after his mother passed away.

Richard is far from the only Black San Franciscan who has moved out of the central neighborhoods. In a city where the average house now sells for $1.4 million, communities of color have been largely displaced. In 1970, 13 percent of San Franciscans identified as Black. Today, that number stands at only five percent.

City Has History Of Targeting Black Individuals

In 2018, a report was published that found that San Francisco’s law enforcement was targeting its Black residents in the policing of drug-related offenses. The investigation was released two years after the city’s police chief was forced to resign after a string of fatal shootings by law enforcement of San Franciscans of color.

Given this backdrop, the city’s previously slow-moving cannabis social equity program seems crucial. A handful of equity partners have been approved, though Richard’s Cole Ashbury Group was the first, and will be the first to open their business.

Local politicians hailed Berner’s on Haight as an overdue sign of social justice.

“Cannabis legalization isn’t coming to the Haight-Ashbury; no, the laws are finally coming to the Haight-Ashbury’s way of thinking, of valuing healing, freedom of expression, and social equity,” said member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Vallie Brown. “It’s exciting and fitting that San Francisco’s first social equity cannabis store will be right here in the Haight, and that it will be led by a man like Shawn Richard who has spent decades in selfless service to our community.”

Richard says SF’s cannabis equity program has a long way to go. In his experience, the Office of Cannabis is understaffed and greater financial assistance would be helpful for those hoping to open their own marijuana brand.

But hopefully, entrepreneurs like himself will soon play their own role in supporting their peers in the cannabis business. “That’s my goal,” says Richard. “To generate enough income to be able to put it in play for them, for other equity partners who are coming after me.”

San Francisco’s First Black-Owned Dispensary To Open This Month was posted on High Times.

MLB Set to Stop Testing Players for Marijuana

MLB Set to Stop Testing Players for Marijuana

Original Post: Cannabis Now: MLB Set to Stop Testing Players for Marijuana

[Canniseur: I can’t say enough about this huge change of policy for Major League Baseball. It’s about time. MLB has been vocally and adamantly against drugs of any sort. Now the league is going to test for opiates only. In an odd way, this reminds me of the time that Doc Ellis, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a no-hitter against San Diego while tripping on acid. This cannabis policy change is overdue. It will help create a change in the perception of cannabis and athletics and was made by one of the most powerful sports agencies in the U.S. Mike Adams story about the change is terrific. This change is happening in both the major and minor leagues.]

America’s favorite pastime is about to get a lot more interesting, at least for players who like to hit weed as much as they do home runs. The MLB (Major League Baseball) and the MLB Players Association have decided that it is a detriment to the health of those who play the sport to test for marijuana. The organizations have determined, instead, that it would be more advantageous to implement a new set of drug testing protocols aimed at keeping players from striking out on opioids. But as far as marijuana goes, it is no longer going to be cause for disciplinary action.

In the latest agreement, the MLB is moving to eliminate the cannabis plant from its list of banned substances. It means Minor leaguers will no longer be subjected to drug testing for the herb, which puts them right in line with the Majors. MLB players have not been tested for pot in almost 20 years. Nope, back in 2002, the MLB put the kibosh on those shenanigans. The league is more concerned these days about players using performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers than it is with them showing up to play with THC in their system.

Still, it took a minute for the Minors to catch up with this progressive drug policy. Until now, these players were at risk of a 25-game suspension if they got nailed for pot even once. They faced a 50-game suspension for testing positive a second time and 100 games the third time around. Players who couldn’t get their act together after that were at risk of getting banned for life. So, you know, the MLB used to take all of that “three-strikes and you’re out” stuff pretty seriously.

But not for much longer.

“As part of a new agreement on opioids being negotiated between Major League Baseball and the players’ union, MLB will remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers, sources tell The Athletic. Major leaguers have not been subject to testing for marijuana,” MLB insider Ken Rosenthal wrote in a Twitter post earlier this week.

Marijuana is still struggling, however, to find acceptance in all sports. The National Football League (NFL) doesn’t allow players to use it, not even for medicinal purposes, and neither does the National Basketball Association (NBA). There are some stiff penalties, too, for those players who break the rules. It was just last month that Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters was suspended for 10 games after he suffered a cannabis-induced panic attack on a flight from Phoenix to Las Angeles. This suspension is reportedly going to cost Waiters $834,483 in forfeited salary. He also misses out on a $1.2 million bonus that was set to come after he completed 70 games during the regular season.

As it stands, the National Hockey League (NHL) is the only professional sports organization that doesn’t give two-flying squirts if their players test positive for marijuana. They still check for it, but they do not impose any punishments — no suspensions or fines — for those who get popped. The only stipulation is if a player shows up to a game stoned and disrespects his team and the sport.

But other than that, weed isn’t a big deal in the eyes of the NHL. In fact, parts of the organization believe that marijuana could benefit players. The NHL Alumni Association is presently involved with a research program to see if cannabis medicine might help players suffering from brain injuries. Other sports organizations are still on the fence about medicinal use.

report from TMZ Sports suggests that the MLB’s policy change on marijuana and opioids could be a reaction to Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs suffering a fatal opioid overdose earlier this year. Skaggs tested positive for Oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol at the time of his death.

The MLB’s drug policy change is not quite a done deal, not yet. Tony Clark, MLB players’ union chief, believes the agreement will be finalized before the end of the year. It will be in place before the start of the next season. So, don’t be surprised if you start seeing hotdog vendors hanging around in the dugouts. Baseball players are getting ready to be hella hungry come summer 2020.

MLB Set to Stop Testing Players for Marijuana was posted on Cannabis Now.

Could Medical Caregivers Help Avoid a Cannabis Shortage in Michigan?

Could Medical Caregivers Help Avoid a Cannabis Shortage in Michigan?

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Could Medical Caregivers Help Avoid a Cannabis Shortage in Michigan?

[Canniseur: The regulators in the state of Michigan are still sticking their collective heads in some very dark and dank places. It might seem from the outside that ‘regulators’ are thwarting an open market. Open as in, the normal economics of a market would govern supply. The reality is, this more about the lack of knowledge and experience. They need to look at the alcoholic beverage industry as a model for cannabis industry.]

The adult-use cannabis market in Michigan officially opened for business this morning, Dec. 1.

A year has come and gone since Michigan voters passed Proposal 1, making the Wolverine State the tenth in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis. Just 10 days after the law was verified, it became legal for adults in Michigan to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis in public and 10 ounces at home. However, it has taken a year to get a licensed retail distribution system ready to go — and just barely, at that.

The only places selling cannabis to adults today in Michigan are medical marijuana dispensaries who have been approved for recreational sales. In fact, only three Michigan dispensaries are licensed to sell pot to adults today, according to the Detroit Metro Times, and they’re all in Ann Arbor. These dispensaries are now going to be able to sell products that have sat for 30 days or more on their medical shelves to any person over 21 years of age.

This strategy has an obvious dilemma: there will likely be big supply shortages in the adult-use cannabis industry. It’s ramping up to be a less than spectacular start.

But there’s a group of people who could solve the problem. They are legally growing more cannabis than they need, and until recently, Michigan let them sell to dispensaries.

The Plight of Medical Cannabis Caregivers in Michigan

Read the rest of the story here:

Could Medical Caregivers Help Avoid a Cannabis Shortage in Michigan? was posted on Cannabis Now.

FDA Warns 15 Companies for Illegally Selling CBD Products

FDA Warns 15 Companies for Illegally Selling CBD Products

This story first appeared in Cannabis Business Times

[Canniseur: Here’s a warning we should take seriously. There are too many producers of CBD products in the U.S. They’re mostly good and reputable companies. But there are always a few bad actors in any business, especially a newly legal business like CBD. Take the warning and stay away from products by these companies until they’re cleared by the FDA.]

The violations include marketing unapproved new human and animal drugs, selling the products as dietary supplements, and adding CBD to human and animal foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 15 companies Nov. 25 for illegally selling CBD products in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, according to a press release.

The agency also published a revised Consumer Update that outlines its broader safety concerns about CBD products, including potential liver injury, interactions with other drugs and more.

The companies that were issued warning letters have been marketing CBD products on webpages, in online stores and on social media to treat diseases, for therapeutic uses, as dietary supplements, and in human and animal foods, according to the release.

These companies include:

  • Koi CBD LLC, of Norwalk, Calif.
  • Pink Collections Inc., of Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Noli Oil, of Southlake, Texas
  • Natural Native LLC, of Norman, Okla.
  • Whole Leaf Organics LLC, of Sherman Oaks, Calif.
  • Infinite Product Company LLLP, doing business as Infinite CBD, of Lakewood, Colo.
  • Apex Hemp Oil LLC, of Redmond, Ore.
  • Bella Rose Labs, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Sunflora Inc., of Tampa, Fla./Your CBD Store, of Bradenton, Fla.
  • Healthy Hemp Strategies LLC, doing business as Curapure, of Concord, Calif.
  • Private I Salon LLC, of Charlotte, N.C.
  • Organix Industries Inc., doing business as Plant Organix, of San Bernardino, Calif.
  • Red Pill Medical Inc., of Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Sabai Ventures Ltd., of Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Daddy Burt LLC, doing business as Daddy Burt Hemp Co., of Lexington, Ky.

The FDA has requested that the companies respond, indicating how they plan to correct the violations, within 15 working days. Companies that fail to correct the violations may face legal action, including product seizure or injunction, according to the release.

This is not the first time that companies have been issued warning letters for illegally marketing CBD products. Curaleaf, for example, received a warning letter this summer for selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated health claims that the products treat cancer and Parkinson’s disease, among other health conditions. Curaleaf responded by removing the health claims from its website and social media accounts.

In its announcement, the FDA indicated “that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for its use in human or animal food.”

The FDA continues to explore ways for CBD products to be legally marketed, according to the release, and it plans to provide an update on its progress “in the coming weeks.”

“As we work quickly to further clarify our regulatory approach for products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds like CBD, we’ll continue to monitor the marketplace and take action as needed against companies that violate the law in ways that raise a variety of public health concerns,” said FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., in a public statement. “In line with our mission to protect the public, foster innovation, and promote consumer confidence, this overarching approach regarding CBD is the same as the FDA would take for any other substance that we regulate. We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt.’ Aside from one prescription drug approved to treat two pediatric epilepsy disorders, these products have not been approved by the FDA and we want to be clear that a number of questions remain regarding CBD’s safety—including reports of products containing contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals—and there are real risks that need to be considered. We recognize the significant public interest in CBD and we must work together with stakeholders and industry to fill in the knowledge gaps about the science, safety and quality of many of these products.”

Source: FDA Warns 15 Companies for Illegally Selling CBD Products

Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Original Post: Merry Jane: Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Photo via

[Canniseur: $400 million in sales is nothing to sneeze at in Massachusetts in the first year. But I’d be willing to bet my whole stash that the black market raked in at least 4 times that amount. Do the math. If Massachusetts can get to about 80% legal, the market would be well north of a billion dollars. That’s a lot of tax revenue.]

If you’re in Massachusetts looking to find weed, you’re not alone. After exactly one year of recreational cannabis sales on the East Coast, Bay State regulators are reporting a strong and steady demand for legal weed to the tune of more than $1 million a day.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission released its first set of yearly cannabis sales data this Wednesday, marking the first anniversary of the state’s groundbreaking industry. On a whole, cannabis consumers spent $393.7 million on marijuana in the last 12 months, in what CCC Chairman Steve Hoffman called a “very smooth” transition into adult-use legalization.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in sales are one measure of success, but I am even prouder of the way in which Marijuana Establishments have worked with the Commission to gain and preserve compliance with our regulations and patrons continue to inform themselves about the law and their responsibilities when they visit Massachusetts stores,” Hoffman said in a statement to

From a tax standpoint, the first year of legal weed sales was a windfall for Massachusetts state coffers. CCC officials collected some $67 million in state excise tax from marijuana sales since dispensaries first opened — $4 million more than initial first-year predictions.

Since last November, the number of licensed cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts has grown from just two stores at the outset to 33 today. And with another 54 pot shops already awarded provisional or final licensing, that number could expand to more than 80 during the state’s second year of legalization.

For comparison’s sake, Canada sold $1.1 billion worth of weed during its first year of legalization, but those numbers came from a country with more than six times the population of Massachusetts and hundreds of licensed dispensaries. At this point, its safe to say that America’s East Coast is ready for legal weed, and Massachusetts is blazing that trail.

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

Original Post: Merry Jane: Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Michigan Recreational Marijuana Retail Sales to Begin Dec. 1

Michigan Recreational Marijuana Retail Sales to Begin Dec. 1

[Canniseur: This is a surprising announcement. We don’t think Michigan has the inventory to supply both medical and adult-use cannabis by December 1st. Even with the big grow houses operating at capacity, there won’t be enough cannabis to go around in the state until at least next March or April. This could be a hot mess as people will still want to use the black market to obtain their flower or whatever. I’m hoping to be proven wrong though.]

Original Article: Michigan recreational marijuana retail sales to begin Dec. 1 was originally published on

LANSING, MI — Michigan residents will be able to legally purchase marijuana from stores beginning Dec. 1, the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Any businesses seeking a recreational license to grow more than 1,000 plants, process or sell recreational marijuana must currently be licensed under the state’s medical marijuana licensing rules.

The state announced existing medically licensed businesses that are pursuing equivalent recreational licenses may transfer up to half their inventory, which is already deemed legal and has been tested for the medical marijuana market, to the recreational side for general sales.

Any finished products currently for sale in medical dispensaries must have been in the business inventory for 30 days or more before being sold to non-medical customers.

“This approach will allow for a transition to the adult use market as we estimate that there will be around a dozen or so licensees who would be eligible on Dec. 1,” Marijuana Regulatory Agency spokesman David Harns said. “Similar to the medical market, we expect it be a slow build out as the production of plants and products increases. This will create an environment where businesses can supply the market as quickly as possible.”

Harns said who the “dozen or so” eligible businesses are “yet to be determined.”

Read state bulletin allowing medical-to-recreational transfers

Up to half of the products currently on display in dispensaries across the state, including vaping products, edibles and flower, are likely to soon be made available for purchase by the general public, no longer only to those with a state-issued patient or caretaker medical marijuana card.

Harns said the licensed businesses are being notified of the allowance and will be instructed on how to transfer product properly for tracking under the recreational system.

Originally, state officials said it might require the recreational market to begin from scratch, partially out of fear that a transfer of medical marijuana could create a shortage in that market.

That would have meant no recreational product would become available to the public until after one grow cycle, which would have likely taken until March or April of next year.

Since there is demand for both medical an recreational marijuana, Harns said the state wants to make it possible for both to exist in order to deter growth of a black market.

“We continued to watch how the medical supply was looking and asked ourselves what was the best way to allow access to the adult use market,” Harns said. “By only allowing a transfer of 50%, it will keep production and sales on the medical side moving as well.

“Businesses will make decisions to move products where the demand exists, including the non-flower products that are currently in abundance.”

The state began accepting recreational license applications on Nov. 1. Some applications had been approved by Nov. 13.

Omar Hishmeh, who co-owns Exclusive Brands, a company that grows, processes and retails marijuana from its location at 3820 Varsity Dr. in Ann Arbor, said his company’s license application submissions have been approved.

Once news spread that the recreational market would go live on Dec. 1, company leaders called an emergency meeting.

“We’re stoked,” Hishmeh said. “The whole team is stoked. Literally, we just got out of a group meeting with management and retail trying to properly prepare for this so that we’re over-prepared.”

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