(WJBK) - Voters made Michigan the first in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana after passing Proposal 1, but it could still be a long time until you're able to walk into a brick-and-mortar store and walk-out with some weed.
For more than a year, the phone has been ringing at the Small Business Association of Michigan with entrepreneurs questioning what the business of pot will look like. The advice offered is to get a plan in place to test employees.
"Talk to an HR attorney and start working on that now," said Micah Babcock with the SBA of Michigan. "You don't want to be dealing with that later when it's already legal because 10 days after the election is certified it's going to be legal for use within our state."
For those employees, make sure you know the companies plan before you start toking up before work.
"If it's in your business plan that you're not allowing drugs in or outside the workplace, then you cannot be under the influence. If they do random drug test you then you can still lose your position for that," Babcock said.
That's advice for the short term. Now that the voters have spoken, a new market has opened up. While pot can soon be consumed legally, it can't be commercially sold until it's regulated by state lawmakers and that could potentially take until 2020. Those rushing to the marketplace may reap the benefits of getting the customers, but may also find themselves caught in red tape.
The SBA says with the legalization of marijuana, there is no doubt there will be money to be made but all that money is coming in as cash because it's illegal on a federal level and that cash makes businesses targets for criminals.
"If they're carrying duffel bags full of cash home, getting followed by criminals, getting robbed at their homes because of this. We're very worried about that. We really want to make sure the federal government starts working on that because it's putting a lot of people in danger," Babcock said.
There are also local and city ordinances to contend with that could dictate where pot shops can and can't be located. That's just the beginning of the issues that potentially lie in wait.
"They can't bank it and I don't know how the loaning system is going to be happening. Just like I said, a lot of questions, drinking from the firehose is going to definitely be happening for the next couple of months," Babcock said.
As for medical dispensaries, those will not become pot grocery stores overnight. They still must be licensed to sell commercial pot and all of this will take time and plenty of regulation.