The first ‘provisioning centers’ retailing recreational cannabis in Michigan rang up more than $1.6 million in sales in just the first week of business,...

The first ‘provisioning centers’ retailing recreational cannabis in Michigan rang up more than $1.6 million in sales in just the first week of business, according to data from state regulators. With only five shops open the week that legal recreational sales began in the state, adults purchased nearly $1.63 million in cannabis products from December 1 through December 8.

Doug Hellyar is the president and chief operating officer of Lume Cannabis Company, the owner of the Lit dispensary in Evart, Michigan. Sales there were so brisk that the shop in Osceola County started to run out of inventory after only two days in business.

“We are humbled that our first weekend of adult-use sales at Lit Provisioning Centers in Evart was so well- received,” he said. “People traveled from across the state, braved the cold and stood in line for hours to be among the first to purchase recreational marijuana in Northern Michigan.”

“In under two days, we saw over 750 customers and did more than $75,000 in recreational sales, with the average customer spending $103,” Hellyar added.

After opening on Friday, the Lit store quickly burned through 8 pounds of cannabis and the company announced on Sunday that the store had run out of flower. Lume is currently harvesting about 1,000 pounds of cannabis each month and has nearly a ton of flower that has been harvested and will be ready for customers once the results of lab tests are in.

“We will replenish our inventory for adult-use early next week, once we’re able to transfer an additional 42 pounds of Lume flower into Lit’s inventory for adult-use,” Hellyar said Sunday. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to serving northern Michigan’s cannabis community for years to come.”

Legalization Brings Opportunity

Robin Schnedier, the director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association and an activist that helped draft the 2018 voter initiative that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, said that legalization is a boon for both the private sector and state coffers.

“The recreational industry, once fully implemented, will have a significant impact on Michigan’s economy, with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue flowing into state and local governments,” said Schnedier. “We’ve already begun to see waves of hiring by cannabis businesses looking to fill these good-paying jobs, which will have a major impact on communities as these workers have money to spend on goods and services at their local small businesses.”

According to the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency, the sales of adult-use cannabis from December 1 through December totaled $1,629,007. That figure includes tax revenues of $270,414, according to David Harns, a spokesman for the agency. Retailers collected a state-mandated 10% tax on cannabis goods to the tune of $162,900 while consumers forked over another $107,514.

Besides the Lit provisioning center in Evart, three retail cannabis shops have opened in Ann Arbor and another has begun operating in Morenci, Michigan. Five other adult-use provisioning centers have also been licensed by state regulators and plan to open soon. However, nearly 1,400 of the states’s 1,773 cities, townships, and villages have passed ordinances banning recreational cannabis businesses.

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