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Most Michigan communities won't allow marijuana sales, despite legalization

By Ed Adamczyk
Most Michigan communities won't allow marijuana sales, despite legalization
Although Michigan legalized recreational marijuana use in a 2018 referendum, effective on December 1, 79 percent of municipalities are denying permits to businesses for selling, growing or processing marijuana. Photo by Atomazul/Shutterstock.

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Use and possession of marijuana will be legal in Michigan on Dec. 1, but 79 percent of the state's municipalities have banned retail marijuana businesses from opening.

Of the state's 1,773 cities, townships and villages, nearly 1,400, including the city of Detroit, have chosen not to be involved in the sale of recreational marijuana to those 21 and older. Voters supported legislation permitting legalization of marijuana in a November 2018 referendum with 55.9 percent voting in favor, but municipalities can deny business permits.

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Those communities will not share in the 10 percent excise tax. A report by the Michigan Fiscal Agency said marijuana sales are expected to generate $180.5 million in taxes in 2020, a figure expected to increase to $287.9 million by 2023.

The cities of Ann Arbor, Ferndale and Ypsilanti are expected to be hubs of the new industry in the state. SkyMint, Michigan's largest medical marijuana company, opened a retail dispensary on Friday in Ann Arbor. It plans to sell to the public pending receipt of a recreational-use license.

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"We absolutely want to open it up to adult use," Summer Ransom-Cleveland, SkyMint president, said. "Ann Arbor has always been so welcoming to this kind of industry and I feel it's truly our patient base and customer base ... we've been waiting on this location for close to a year now."

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The state's Marijuana Regulatory Agency began accepting applications from businesses ready to sell, process or grown recreational marijuana. Forty-seven businesses have pre-qualified for licenses but some, including five in Detroit, cannot open until the bans are lifted.

Residents of a municipality can override their community's bans by gathering petitions and putting the matter on a ballot. About 11 communities have rejected proposals to overturn bans.

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