LANSING, MI – While the public can appreciate the state's decision to open the leisure market Dec. 1, months earlier than previously estimated, no industry senses are satisfied.
Robin Schneider, director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, which represents nearly 200 licensed medical marijuana businesses, said its members were "blindsided" and were never consulted regarding the Marijuana Regulatory Agency's surprise message last week.
"That's the opposite of what we had been told for the past few months …" said Randall Buchman, CEO of Emerald Growth Partners, who leads the eight-member and growing Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer's Association. And I guess I was shocked at first and a little disappointed that it was not transparency or agency that reached out to anyone in the industry for their opinions.
The state licensing agency previously indicated that it would require product intended for the recreational area market is grown from scratch, which means it will take at least one growth cycle ̵[ads1]1; until March or April – before harvesting marijuana could be sold at retail outlets.
That changed this week. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued a rule allowing businesses who have already cultivated or acquired a marijuana product under their medical license to transfer it to the recreation site beginning December 1.
Michigan Cannabis Industry Associ ation and Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association believes the move is likely to aggravate an existing medical market shortage.
Schneider said that will increase the price of products for medical patients and is already leading manufacturers, processors and dispensaries to hoard marijuana and related products they hope to eventually inject into the recreation market.
While Schneider did not give concrete examples, she said there has been medical cancellation of marijuana shipments, she believes an attempt by someone in the industry to save in preparation for the leisure market's opening.
"The state had repeatedly and publicly suggested that they would not take medicine from the medical marijuana program and transfer it to the recreation program unless there was a surplus of product," Schneider said during a conference call with the media Friday 15. November … "Our members, especially our retailers, have consistently reported for many months that there is a serious shortage of product supplies.
" The dealers are fighting for a limited supply of product which is very expensive … and therefore is patient's access to medicine already limited. "
The deficiency, according to Michigan Regulatory Director Andrew Brisbo, is primarily related to smokable marijuana, referred to as" flower, "but Schneider said there is also a lack of certain extracts, including tinctures. used to treat seizures and Rick Simpson Oil, often used by cancer patients.
“Clearly, there is a demand in Michigan for tested products – especially non-floral products that are currently in abundance on the medical side – and we wanted to provide a mechanism for businesses to offer marijuana products where demand exists, "said Marijuana Regulatory Agency spokesman David Harns." The earring window is not a mandate, it simply provides an opportunity for businesses; If the industry won't do it, they can choose not to.
"The rules have been out since July 3, and the only feedback we received at this point was when and how it should happen, not if it should happen."
Schneider said that her organization encourages members not to transfer
Harns said This transfer provides for a "slow, measured rollout" of the recreation market.
While no companies have yet been licensed, only about 12 dealers who have open for sale on December 1. As of Wednesday, November 14. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency reported it had "pre-qualified" 25 retail license applications.
Rush Hasan, a member of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association and owner of the Reef dispensary in Detroit , joined Friday's media conference call.  "Before the shortage, we would have about 20 to 30 varieties of flowers in the shelves that countless will be between 20 and 25 kilos available per day, "Hasan said. "Now we have herded down to five to six loads on the shelves, and that's about four to five kilos a day."
Hasan said that Brisbo visited the dispensary he owns almost two weeks ago and insisted that there would be no medical transfer to recreational equipment.
"When you get words directly from the head of the agency, you tend to have that confidence, and now you smile a business strategy around it," Hasan said. "And to be completely blinded, it hurts and tried to figure out what we can do."
– Gus Burns is a marijuana beat reporter for MLive. Contact him with questions, tips or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, @GusBurns . Read more from MLive about medical and recreation marijuana.
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