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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Cannabis Sales Off To Strong Start With More Than $200,000 In Sales

Marijuana plant photo
Flickr/Creative Commons

Michigan’s recreational marijuana businesses started selling cannabis Sunday and sold more than $200,000 worth of product. There are now four marijuana stores open for business.

“It appears to have gone well for those who participated,” said Executive Director for the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, Andrew Brisbo. “I think it’s around what was expected in terms of there being a great deal of excitement and demand from the consumer side.”

But there is still work to be done by the department that reviews and issues licenses, as well as provides oversight of businesses. 

“This is less reaching a finish line for us, so much as the start of our responsibilities in ensuring we’re fulfilling our mission,” said Brisbo.

That mission includes finding the balance between allowing businesses to succeed and protecting consumers.

Brisbo said a big part of how profitable recreational pot will be depends on local governments allowing the sale of marijuana.

“Because absent that, we can’t move forward with actual license applications,” Brisbo said. “So we can process a lot of those prequalification steps, but we can’t move forward with full licensure without that municipal authorization.” 

The state stands to benefit from a strong recreational marijuana economy. The state gets a 10%  tax on recreational marijuana. Brisbo said that money will start flowing in soon. The first $10 million will go to repay the state general fund to implement the program. For at least two years after that, millions will go toward cannabis research. Roughly $50 million later, money will start going towards roads and schools and certain counties.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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