The Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) is more than a decade old. The program’s 50,000-plus licensed caregivers serve roughly 300,000 registered patients. But in the four months since Michiganders have had access to state-licensed dispensaries, sales have surged. According to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), legal medical cannabis sales in Michigan have topped $42 million over the past four months—from just 54 dispensaries.

54 Michigan Dispensaries Sold 8,700 Pounds of Medical Cannabis in 4 Months

Despite legalizing medical cannabis use in 2008, Michigan only got around to setting up a licensing and regulatory framework in 2016. Then, a coalition of conservative state lawmakers began passing legislation aimed at taxing, regulating, and licensing the state’s medical cannabis program. But in the eight years in between, an entire informal economy of unlicensed growers, distributors and caregivers emerged, along with dozes of unlicensed dispensaries.

Transforming the informal industry to a regulated, licensed one was and continues to be an arduous and messy process. So much so, that Michigan regulators have implemented different sets of “emergency rules” in hopes of easing the transition. Fast forward to early 2018, and LARA still hadn’t licensed any medical cannabis testing labs or dispensaries. In

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