What does the future hold for the commercialization of marijuana in the State of Michigan? What do the experts foresee? We’ve talked with current operators and licensees, business executives, transportation people, and realtors to try to find the answers for you (or at least what they think) regarding land, labs and transportation in Michigan cannabis. We found some interesting perspectives and we want to report them to you.
Where’s the near-term bottleneck? Testing labs and transportation companies. Labs are obvious. All you need to do is look at the C-19 situation and you see the bottlenecks in reporting on testing. More product grown and processed leads to the need for more testing—we need increased lab capacity to meet the need and keep up with the coming demand.
Lab Location Considerations
Where do labs need to be located? Within striking distance of major metropolitan areas or within striking distance of major concentrations of grow facilities? There’s no consensus on that yet—but we know that pretty much every municipality that is open to a marijuana business would like a lab.
Cannabis Testing Lab Staffing
What do testing labs need? A facility and equipment and trained people are foremost. Perhaps it is time for Michigan’s community colleges be looking at providing training to funnel people into this industry. There’s a need for cannabis lab techs and it does require some specialization. Communities with a talent pool and more educated workforce will do better in attracting cannabis testing labs. Northern Michigan University offers 4-year degrees in cannabis science. Will a lab pay for the cost of education and training or are there enough people already trained in medical tech professions who can easily switch to cannabis labs? Equipment is expensive but we understand the equipment manufacturers will assist with financing and/or even go into leasing programs.
Cannabis Transporation as Part of a Vertical Company
Transportation companies are vital for getting product from the grower to the processor and on to that retail outlet. Is it time to eliminate the requirement for separation of ownership? What have we learned about growers and processors which continue to make the MRA fear that those entities would not legally or properly transport their own products? Why do we have to “play games” with the ownership of transportation companies? Smaller growers could be priced out of the market by the transport companies, especially those who are situated far from retailers. Will the large growers command the transport industry and prevent smaller grow operations from economically transporting? We’re not sure why the separation of ownership is any longer required.
Cannabis-Friendly Land Nearby
With land and buildings being a lot less expensive in smaller municipalities, whether they be a township, a village or maybe a small city, why are they not filling up with small retail enterprises and other Adult-Use operations? Is it still the stigma? Is it the local Prosecuting Attorney? It’s much cheaper to buy and build in Alto or Borculo and run a delivery service than it is to acquire property, build and operate in the City of Grand Rapids! Why not get a less expensive small piece of property outside the metro area and serve the surrounding markets? It’s probably a lot easier to work with the smaller local building and planning people and can develop the property at a lot less than somewhere in the industrial district in the City of Grand Rapids. Serve the same ring of customers, particularly with the delivery services all available. If the State expands the ability to put more product into a “weed truck” that is on the road and available for delivery on call, that’ll be great for business.
Labs, transportation, and land in Michigan cannabis are part of the equation that needs further finessing. We’re thinking about this and will continue to explore it for you. Should you need assistance thinking this through—Cannalex Law is here to help.