Michigan’s Adult-Use Cannabis Market Just Got More Competitive

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When the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018 went into effect, it included a clause that gave existing medical cannabis license holders a huge two-year competitive advantage that many expected would last until November 2021.

However, a clause in the regulation gave Michigan’s Regulatory Agency the option to move that date up to November 2020. This month, the agency did exactly that, and as a result, Michigan’s adult-use cannabis market is about to become significantly more competitive.

How the Change Will Affect Cannabis Licensing in Michigan

There are currently 1,216 active cannabis licenses in Michigan across the supply chain according to the Cannabiz Media License Database with the majority issued for cultivation (379), medical dispensary (275), adult-use retailer (148), and delivery (261).

Considering there is no state cap on cannabis licenses in Michigan, it’s safe to assume that there will be an influx of new applications once the market opens in November 2020, and with more license holders, there will be more competition.

One of the primary reasons the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency removed the regulation that required businesses to hold a medical cannabis license in order to get a recreational license is to address social equity issues.

Regulators told Crain’s Detroit that lowering the barriers that were in place to enter the adult-use cannabis market would enable them to create programs benefiting people who were unjustly affected by the war on drugs, specifically, through the enforcement of cannabis-related laws.

Bottom-line, entrepreneurs who want to get into Michigan’s cannabis industry will soon have a better chance to do so when the doors to adult-use license applications open later this year. It’s a win for them, but not so much for current adult-use license holders who thought they’d have another year of operating with little competition. Today’s active retailers may soon have to invest more time and money in order to differentiate their brands from new competitors, retain existing customers, and attract new customers.

What Does the Change Mean for Consumers?

For consumers, more license holders equals more access to the cannabis products they want and need. While markets are highly unlikely to be saturated with new adult-use retail locations in the near future (municipalities can cap the number of retailers operating in their communities), the addition of any new competition typically helps consumers.

Open markets are usually fairer markets for consumers with more competitive pricing, improved customer service, and more. License holders will have to work harder to earn consumers’ business, but consumers will hold more power in terms of demanding competitive prices, product choices, and so on. For Michigan’s consumers, additional adult-use licenses will be a very good thing.

Key Takeaways about Michigan’s Open Licensing Adult-Use Cannabis Market

While existing adult-use cannabis license holders in Michigan would have preferred to keep new businesses from entering the market until November 2021, the early opening of the market to new license applicants will bring widespread benefits to entrepreneurs, consumers, and the state’s cannabis industry.

For companies that are looking to connect with new cannabis businesses to sell their products and services, the further opening of the Michigan market combined with the lack of a state license cap means there are significant opportunities coming! Of course, the team at Cannabiz Media is tracking all of the changes and adding new information to the License Database every day.

By subscribing to the Cannabiz Media License Database, you’ll be able to get your brand, business, products and services in front of license applicants and new license holders in Michigan early! Schedule a free demo and see how it can help you do more and sell more.

Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.

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