What is taking so long?
Some communities and businesses are raking in huge amounts of revenue selling recreational marihuana. Many, including Detroit, cannot because the state has dragged its feet issuing licenses.
For Jerry Millen, owner of the Greenhouse medical marijuana dispensary in Walled Lake, the problem wasn't the city where he's located. He got permission from Walled Lake for recreational sales last fall and was preparing for a Jan. 4 addition of legal weed at the shop. He ordered a tent for what was expected to be a rush of customers, invited vendors to participate to give information about products to new customers and was supposed to sit down with police to plan for the influx of people to the small community.
But despite being pre-qualified and having all his inspections completed a week before Christmas, he still doesn't have a license from the state.
"I'm trying to do this in a good way, so I pulled the plug because I haven't heard anything from the state," he said. "I’m ready and waiting. I have product that will last at least a little while. But I need two weeks to prepare."
Our own Matt Abel expressed his disappointment.
Matt Abel, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said it's too bad that Michigan couldn't replicate Illinois, where recreational marijuana sales began at 37 stores around the state on Wednesday. Sales for the day totaled $3.2 million, while Michigan's first day of sales on Dec. 1 at three shops in Ann Arbor and one store in Morenci totaled $221,000.
"It's refreshing to see a state like Illinois and how quickly they're moving forward," he said. "Here, the black market will continue to thrive. It's too bad that our state and local governments aren't more forward thinking. ... It doesn't go unnoticed that business just isn't happening in metro Detroit."