In 2008, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act legalized medical cannabis, but has since then been scrutinized for its poor legislation. Recently, a three bill legislation including HB-4290, HB-4210 and HB-4827 has been proposed to help set framework for medical cannabis patients, growers and distributors within Michigan. According to a recent study, if enacted properly, the bills could garner the state millions of dollars.
Commissioned by the Michigan Cannabis Association, Hillside College economist Gary Wolfram conducted the study in support of the bills and revealed that Michigan’s medical cannabis market could generate up $44.3 million to $63 million. According to Fox 17, in 2015 Michigan had an estimated 182,091 medical cannabis patients. Wolfram’s study assumes that if two thirds of those patients turned to licensed collectives for medicine, it could generate a minimum of $44.3 million annually. “It’s certainly a good number, if you’re a state representative trying to balance the budget right now dealing with Detroit Public Schools or Flint, whatever the latest problem is right now,” he said. “An extra $40 to $60 million would certainly be helpful,” Wolfram stated.
Through clear legislation Wolfram believes that Michigan can increase its number of medical cannabis patients as well as the different usable forms of cannabis, which will ultimately help expand the market. Representative Lisa Lyons states that since 2008 there have been inconsistencies in defining usable forms of cannabis. Lyons believes that non-smokable forms should be available for medical cannabis patients, as they are a safer alternative to smoking for both adults and children patients.
Wolfman’s analysis also revealed that the legislation could create 10,000 jobs in the cannabis market from growing to working behind the counter at a collective. Furthermore, that a three percent tax on medical retailers proposed in the legislation would be distributed throughout the state with $3.7 million to $5.3 million going into the general state fund, according to the Grand Rapids Business Journal. “Michigan residents could receive benefits from this revenue in the form of critical services,” Wolfram said. “The services could be anything the legislature wants, (including) improving infrastructures or roads.”
As the legislation in the proposed bills is rather detailed, Vice President of the Michigan Cannabis Development Association Willie Rochon sees it as a way for the state to create a solid stance on medical cannabis. “These proposals will end the uncertainty that is causing confusion for patients and businesses, and help eliminate the black market that puts patients at risk,” he said.