Michigan Abruptly Cuts Off Caregiver-Grown Cannabis In State's Recreational Market

Michigan’s recreational cannabis retailers are being prohibited from buying flower grown by caregivers six months earlier than anticipated.

The regulation eliminates an informal link in the supply chain that has been contributing about 60% of the state’s legally sold medical and recreational marijuana.

Caregivers Sales To Medical Market Continue

Michigan had originally given caregivers until Oct. 1 to sell to the medical and recreational markets. Their small harvests were meant to supplement the early capacity of licensed producers as they built market-supporting stashes.

The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency changed its mind in a bulletin quietly released last week.

“Effective April 8, 2020, the MRA will not permit caregiver-produced or derived product to enter the adult-use market,” the bulletin said. “Any equivalent license transfer request submitted to the MRA that includes caregiver-produced or derived products will be denied.”

Medical patients will still have access to the homegrown weed until Oct. 1, as was originally intended.

“The caregiver product brought into market was meant to supplement the medical market,” David Harns, spokesman for the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, told the Detroit Free Press. “And on the adult use side, things are moving toward a self-sustaining eco-system.”

'Crimp' In Michigan's Recreational Cannabis Supply 

Caregiver producers have bolstered the supply chain for the last 12 years that medical marijuana has been legal. The market has developed a dependency on their flower and derives just 40% of its supply from licensed operations.

In the last month, at least one licensed grower in Michigan has transferred more than 5,000 pounds of caregiver flower, according to the Free Press.

The prohibition on adult-use caregiver flower is good news for licensed competitors, but it’s bad news for consumers — and for caregivers. 

“What this is going to do is put a crimp in the supply for recreational marijuana,” cannabis accountant Paul Samways told the Free Press. “If rec ever gets enough supply to meet the demand, then the medical market will fall off.”

Recreational retailers can sell caregiver products that are already shelved and designated for adult use, according to the state. They cannot purchase new caregiver flower moving forward.

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Posted In: Detroit Free PressMichigan Regulatory AgencyCannabisNewsMarketsMedia