A Dozen Quick Hits of Cannabis News from Across Michigan

By Kyle Kaminski

May 16, 2023

MICHIGAN—Cannabis is a pretty big deal in Michigan—and there’s never a shortage of newsworthy headlines from the industry as the state inches closer to becoming the nation’s weed capital.

Here are a dozen things you need to know this week:

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Another lobbyist pleaded guilty last week in an ongoing investigation tied to Michigan’s now-defunct marijuana licensing board, led by former Republican House Speaker Rick Johnson. The lobbyist admitted to giving $42,000 to Johnson in order to help his clients obtain state business licenses. Johnson pleaded guilty to accepting $110,000 in bribes last month. A businessman and another lobbyist have also pleaded guilty.

NO SURPRISE HERE: Ann Arbor has been officially declared the “Most Hippie” town in America—probably because it’s home to more pot shops than any other city in the state.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND: With an abundance of marijuana flooding the market in Michigan, prices have plummeted. And some cannabis companies think the state government may need to take action to help the industry thrive, reports the Detroit Metro Times. Two suggestions: Stop issuing new cannabis business licenses and crack down on more illegal grow operations. 

DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?: City leaders in Portland are reportedly considering a new city ordinance allowing cannabis companies to operate drive-thru windows at stores across the city. A public hearing on the matter is reportedly scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 23. 

BLACK MARKET CRACKDOWN: Several people with West Michigan ties are facing federal charges after allegedly running a massive money laundering scheme and illegal cannabis operation out of Oklahoma. Authorities have reportedly seized more than 4,000 cannabis plants and more than 3,500 pounds of processed cannabis from the suspects—including from several locations allegedly involved in the operation in both Rockford and East Lansing. 

BECAUSE HANGOVERS SUCK: A new study shows that Gen Z tends to prefer marijuana over alcohol. Recent reports in the State News explored some of the reasons behind that new trend—and it’s partly because students are tired of being hungover after a long night of boozing.

UNFILLED PRESCRIPTIONS: Although cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use, most Michigan doctors are still hesitant to prescribe it, according to a recent University of Michigan study. But that could all be changing. The study also suggests that additional research on the medical benefits of cannabis could lead to a big shift in how doctors view marijuana. 

MOVE OVER CASINOS: Native tribal nations in Michigan are turning to a new source of revenue, with at least four tribes now dipping their toes into the lucrative waters of cannabis.

LOCAL LOVE: More than 30,000 Michiganders now work in the cannabis industry—all jobs that didn’t exist before voters legalized recreational weed in 2018. And for some local communities, it’s paying big dividends for economic growth. For example: New reports show that the vast majority of the pot shops in Greater Lansing are owned by Greater Lansing residents.

ONE LESS REASON TO HATE OHIO: Let’s all send some warm wishes to our neighbors to the south as Ohioians prepare to vote on whether to legalize cannabis—possibly as soon as this year. There are reportedly still a few hoops to jump through, but at least they’re on their way. 

LEARNING FROM THE MITTEN: The mayor of Hammond, Indiana, took a trip to Michigan to publicly blaze it up for 420—and he hopes Indiana also takes similar steps to legalize weed after Republican lawmakers there blocked a Democratic proposal to legalize pot earlier this month.

DID YOU KNOW? When Michiganders voted to legalize recreational weed, they also voted to make it legal for everyone over the age of 21 to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home. It takes time to master, but it’s surprisingly simple to get started—and it can be totally worth your time.

READ MORE: Pot Shops Offer New Leash on Life for Michigan Vets—One Dog at a Time

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This article originally appeared in The MichiGanja Report, a free monthly newsletter from The ‘Gander about all things cannabis, written by political correspondent Kyle Kaminski. Click here to subscribe, and we’ll send the next edition straight to your inbox.


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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