Recreational marijuana dispensaries in Michigan made $1.6 million in sales in the first eight days of being legal.
The sales translated to $270,414 in new taxes for cash-strapped local governments and the state, according to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).
Not bad considering only a handful of dispensaries have opened since recreational sales became legal on Dec. 1.
So far, the MRA has approved 10 retail licenses. Half of them weren’t open in the first eight days. In Ann Arbor, there are three: Arbors Wellness, Greenstone Provisions, and Exclusive Brands. Many more are expected to open in the coming weeks.
Recreational marijuana sales are expected to top $150 million in sales and excise taxes in the 2021-21 fiscal budget, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. By 2022-23, the agency projects the tax revenues will reach $262 million.
Unlike medicinal cannabis, recreational marijuana has a 10% excise tax and a 6% sales tax.
But many communities won’t see those tax dollars. About 80% of Michigan townships, cities and villages have approved ordinances banning recreational marijuana businesses in their communities.
The handful of recreational pot businesses that have opened so far have reported long lines and robust sales. The marijuana also is far more expensive than you can find it in the black market.
The cost of an eighth-ounce of premium flower hovered at $50 to $60 — nearly twice what you’d pay with a good street connection. And that’s before you pay a 10-percent excise tax and a 6-percent sales tax. An ounce of high-grade marijuana exceeded $400 after taxes for some varieties.
But those prices are worth it for many consumers because the marijuana is tested, regulated, and legal.
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