Exploring the Robust Growth of Michigan's Cannabis Industry in 2023

January 27th, 2024 Business & Industry Ryan Spegal
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In 2023, Michigan's cannabis sector demonstrated significant expansion, with total marijuana product sales surpassing $3.06 billion, as reported by the state's Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA). This growth trajectory is expected to continue, according to industry experts.

Mid-lower Michigan, including Mecosta and Osceola counties, contributed notably to this success, recording sales exceeding $16 million in December alone. Tyler Dutcher, the owner of Vivid Farms, a grow facility in Barryton, foresees further industry growth, citing increasing consumer demand and innovative consumption methods.

Since Michigan legalized adult-use cannabis in November 2018, the industry has witnessed remarkable growth, with a 474% increase in sales from 2020 to 2023. Additionally, CRA data indicates a 78% reduction in the average price of flower since the early days of legalization, reflecting market growth and saturation.

Dutcher also highlighted the challenges and cyclic nature of the cannabis industry, noting that not all businesses are equipped to handle the industry's fluctuations. He mentioned the significant scale of operations, with some farms planting hundreds of thousands of plants, poised to become national leaders in cannabis cultivation.

A notable development in the industry is the formation of the ‘Blacklist of MI Cannabis’ Facebook group by Brandon Hauck and Kate Sikkila of Emerald Fire Farms. This initiative aims to address payment issues faced by growers, and it has already facilitated the settlement of numerous debts. The CRA has shown support for this effort by considering non-renewal of licenses for retail establishments that fail to pay their debts.

Chivonne Rush, a marketing representative from Timber Cannabis, reported successful growth for their Big Rapids location since its opening in January 2022. The company's expansion, including the launch of its sixth location in Mount Pleasant, reflects increasing societal acceptance and decreasing stigma surrounding cannabis.

Timber Cannabis focuses on product innovation and education, with Rush noting the popularity of products like infused pre-rolls and live rosin. The company collaborates with High Minded, a grow operation, to develop new strains and products. She emphasized the importance of community involvement for dispensaries and grow operations, as well as the potential for continued industry growth and the passion of new industry entrants.

Dutcher also commented on the diminishing viability of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act in the face of recreational cannabis industry growth. He observed a trend of locations across Michigan adopting recreational ordinances, which often provide similar benefits to those of medical dispensaries but with a broader product selection.

According to Michigan Cannabis Information, the state boasts over a thousand CRA-licensed marijuana dispensary locations, including approximately 330 active medical marijuana dispensaries and over 660 active recreational cannabis shops.

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