Recreational marijuana sales get green light earlier than expected for Dec. 1

With legal recreational marijuana, it represents the beginning of a new normal in Michigan.
Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced Wednesday adults 21 and older will be able to buy bud from retailers Dec. 1, which is earlier than expected.

"Potrepreneurs" like Omar Hishmeh expects his provisioning center, Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor, to be one of roughly a dozen businesses to have the green light to sell recreational marijuana come December.

"We were anticipating a January 1 recreational date," he said. "To know that it's December 1 is even more exciting.

"We're anticipating it's going to be very busy and there's going to be a real positive response especially being here in Ann Arbor."

Michigan voters decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana last year. MRA is allowing some medical marijuana shops, as well as licensed growers and processors, to use half of their supply of sativa for recreational sales. 

"The adult use is just getting started and we don't want the same thing to happen on the adult use side, the lack of supply as we have seen on the medical side. It takes a little time for the product to grow and process," said Thomas Lavigne, a lawyer with Cannabis Counsel.

FOX 2 caught up with him at his office in downtown Detroit where the legal advice costs, but the whiffs of weed come free.

The state starting taking applications for recreational marijuana licenses Nov. 1. And a spokesman for MRA says they should begin issuing licenses around Thanksgiving.

"It was months and months if not years in the making," said Narmin Jarrous, Exclusive Brands. "Even before the application process, making sure that all of our processes were the most efficient. We're the best and we're the safest for all of our patients, and that is our priority. We did that and that's why we were prepared to be the first to submit on Nov. 1."

While pot customers are eagerly awaiting Dec. 1, Lavigne says there are several things they'd do well to remember.

"You can't smoke in public, people need to know that (it is) against the law," he said. "You can consume in public, you can't smoke in public. You can't drive these vehicles under the influence. The other thing is, you can't consume marijuana in an automobile."

That also applies to passengers.

Now there are also concerns this announcement could lead to a shortage of medical marijuana, as businesses will have to split their inventory for recreational marijuana. Stay tuned.

Only 22 communities are allowing businesses to sell recreational marijuana. More than a thousand have opted out and only about 12 businesses at first will get the green light to sell recreational marijuana.