8 quick hits of cannabis news from across Michigan

By Kyle Kaminski

January 11, 2024

MICHIGAN—Cannabis is a 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 eight things you need to know this week:

BUSINESS BOOST: The state of Michigan is offering $1 million in grant funding to cannabis businesses that are proactive in their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The funds can be spent on either employee education, business needs, or community investment—including donations to local nonprofit groups. Applications must be returned no later than Friday, Jan. 26.

CREAM OF THE CROP: Michigan Green State has reportedly launched a new statewide competition to recognize the cannabis industry’s finest companies, brands, and products. Voting will begin on Jan. 21 and will continue through Feb. 10. The winners will be revealed in March.

FLOWER IN FREEFALL: An analysis of statewide pot prices from Cannabis Business Times shows that the average price for an ounce of weed in Michigan has plummeted about 78% since 2020—from $419 to only about $92 an ounce this month. Business leaders have said the state’s supply has finally caught up to demand, which has invoked “pricing wars” in recent months.

POUR ONE OUT: Nearly 14% of Michigan’s marijuana retailers have closed or not renewed licenses since the industry opened for business in December 2019, according to state records analyzed by MLive. That’s nearly 125 marijuana shops that are no longer operating statewide.

OHIO IS STILL REALLY LAME: Although voters in Ohio legalized weed, there won’t be any dispensaries open there until late summer or early fall. And even when those shops open, it’ll still be against federal law for Michiganders to buy some and bring it back across state lines.

PROHIBITION ENDING: Nationwide, state and local police reportedly made 227,108 arrests for marijuana violations in 2023—marking the lowest number of arrests in the US since the early 1990s and a significant decrease from 2007 when weed-related arrests peaked at over 870,000.

DOOBS OVER BOOZE: A multinational investment bank has reportedly billed marijuana as a “formidable competitor” for the alcohol industry, projecting that nearly 20 million more people will regularly consume cannabis over the next five years as booze continues to lose popularity.

Meanwhile in Washington…

President Joe Biden issued expanded pardons last year for those convicted of simple cannabis possession or use, as well as granted clemency to 11 people who were serving what the White House has labeled as “disproportionately long” sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

8 quick hits of cannabis news from across Michigan

The president’s latest actions will not release any federal prisoners—but will lift barriers to housing, employment, and educational opportunities for those convicted of the offenses.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

Biden issued a similar round of pardons in 2022, and has called on state lawmakers to take similar steps regarding marijuana convictions. The federal government is also actively weighing whether or not to reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substance Act—a move that would loosen restrictions that come with Schedule I status, but wouldn’t legalize the plant federally.

READ MORE: Who makes the best weed vapes in Michigan?

8 quick hits of cannabis news from across Michigan

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Author

  • 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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