Michigan dispensaries’ primary source of cannabis sold in licensed retail stores is on its way out, prompting concern among medical and adult-use customers alike that the move could hike cannabis prices prices across the board.
As of Oct. 1, 2020, medical cannabis caregivers will no longer be allowed to sell their crops to licensed producers, processors or pot shops, according to a bulletin from Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released on Monday. That phase-out will start immediately.
The MRA’s “goal is to stimulate business growth while protecting patient safety,” the bulletin noted. “To support that goal, the MRA will implement a phase-out process for the transfer of marijuana and marijuana products into the regulated market from caregivers. The phase-out process will occur between Mar. 1, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2020, with a final termination of all external marijuana transfers on Sept. 30, 2020,” it added.
As of Mar. 1, processors and cultivators with medical licences are no longer permitted to purchase any non-flower cannabis products, including topicals, edibles and concentrates, from caregivers. For the time being, caregivers are allowed to sell flower exclusively to medically licensed processors and cultivators.
Cannabis users are concerned about what this could mean for Michigan’s cannabis supply, as well as for pricing and accessibility.
“Anytime there are regulatory changes, we can expect market fluctuations, including pricing,” Robin Schneider, director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, told MLive. “The laws that govern our licensing program, both medical and recreational, require that cannabis sold in the regulated market be grown and tracked from seed to sale,” Schneider said.
MRA executive director Andrew Brisbo insists that despite growing concerns surrounding the changes, the decision is in the best interest of patients.
“We have always put patients first when we make decisions regarding medical marijuana,” Brisbo said in a statement. “This phase-out process is an important next step in implementing the will of Michigan voters and making sure that patients continue to have access to their medicine,” he added.
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Written by Emma Spears