Pot companies position for potential legalization in Michigan
WALLED LAKE, Mich. (WJBK) - Recreational pot isn't legal in Michigan but the marijuana business is already budding as cannabis companies bank on a change in state law - and they could cash in, big.
The Greenhouse in Walled Lake is a medical marijuana dispensary. They're not open yet - still in the licensing process - but they're trying to get a leg up, says co-owner Gerald Millen.
"The application process to get a medical marijuana license in Michigan is more extensive than getting a casino gambling license. They look into every aspect of your life that you can imagine," Millen said.
Millen's supplier will be major marijuana producer Organa Labs. The Greenhouse is focusing on medical marijuana for now.
"This does help people. It's the real deal and anyone that disagrees with that, really needs to do their homework," Millen says.
The marijuana industry in Michigan could change directions come November.
The marijuana industry could completely change in Michigan this November when voters will decide on the legalization of recreational marijuana. That's why companies like Organa are staging and getting ready behind the scenes with the hopes that voters say yes.
Organa has already set up a grow operation at a state-of-the-art facility in Warren. The company uses specialized lights that are used to get the plants grow to their full potential.
"When you come to the Greenhouse at Walled Lake, every product in our facility will be 100% clean, tested, safe and passed by the state of Michigan," Millen said.
This isn't anything new for Organa. Back in 2014 when Colorado legalized weed, it couldn't produce enough pot, fast enough.
Marijuana producers are buying up real estate, getting labs ready to make their products available quickly if it becomes legalized - which could lead to an economic boom.
"It's a brand new industry - that's what's most exciting about it. There's going to be so many jobs created by companies like Organa, it's going to be incredible to the economy of Michigan," Millen said.
Despite the possibility of an economic boom, the legalization of marijuana is still controversial. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he's concerned about legalization that could come in just six months.
"I don't have an opinion, professionally, other than our job is to enforce the law. Personally I don't think it's great," Bouchard said. "There will be societal outcomes, there will be societal costs, there will be deaths from driving and other activity and I don't think sometimes people pause and take that into account."
It would mean significantly more responsibility on the regulation side for law enforcement. He doesn't think the statute that voters will decide on is specific enough to handle the fallout.
"There is a certain percentage of any behavior whether it's gambling or marijuana or alcohol that will be an addictive personality and that population will have a tremendous impact on the rest. How do we manage that? That's my biggest fear," Bouchard said.