By The Social Revolution Staff
Everyone knows Michigan’s marijuana business space is evolving, and everyone who is anyone knows someone who has already lost their business to new state-mandated changes or to a new round of police aggression. Before the players who created Michigan’s game are scattered to the wind and are lost forever, industry stalwarts are calling for a final get-together to celebrate what we made and give recognition to the pioneers who crafted the nation’s most dynamic frontier for marijuana law reform.
On December 3rd the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group and its principals, Jamie Lowell and Rick Thompson, are hosting the Group’s final cannabis business conference of the year. 2017 has seen many long-term Michigan cannabis businesses fall and 2018 is guaranteed to bring more closures as the MMFLA program defines the winners and losers in the testing, cultivation and distribution industries.
“We in the current cannabis community are all a family, even though we sometimes fight with our brothers and sisters. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, gather with your cannafamily to celebrate heroes and discuss future plans,” Thompson said. “Connect with long-lost friends, exchange contact information, give a final handshake and last hugs before people return to their old jobs outside of the cannabis space.
Some of these people you will never see again.”
More than a hundred dispensaries have been shuttered by police action or through local rulesmaking process during 2017, and in Detroit several hundred have closed. Lansing is cracking down on distribution centers based on their new ordinance. Genesee County communities have recently taken action against popular clubs like the GC3 and Vehicle City, and their future is uncertain. There have been rumors of change in Ann Arbor and Flint, whose ordinances may or may not protect the cannabusinesses there.
Growers of medicinal cannabis are facing changes, too. A Commerce Township official discussed his community’s effort to eliminate commercial caregiving operations during a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, and as the dispensary market for their overages disappears many cultivators will have to make drastic changes in their operations- and their lives.
“The situation will get worse before it gets better,” Lowell observed.
And the calendar is not favorable to future cannabis industry events. Applications for businesses will be accepted beginning on Dec. 15; any dispensary which is still open in Michigan must apply before mid February to remain open. Those applications will be processed and decisions made by April, according to LARA officials, and the Michigan State Police are unlikely to allow any non-compliant dispensaries to remain open after those deadlines regardless of where they are. Conferences are not common once the snow flies and the cold weather hits in Michigan, which means limited attendance for any event in January, February or March.
Dispensary operators who saw their business closed in 2017 are struggling to find where they fit in with the new business market, and some have returned to their old jobs. Dispensary employees are going to have to find a way to pay the bills between now and the launch of the new industry in mid-2018. Many of those faces will be lost in the swirling pool of traditional business, never to return to the cannabis industry.
The MICBD Conference on December 3rd is designed to help cannabis industry people find out how to fit into the new MMFLA program, but it will also provide a place for friends to celebrate and remember.
Source: The Social Revolution