Last month Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills explicitly legalizing the distribution of medical cannabis through a regulated system of dispensaries and cultivation centers, including establishing a 3% excise tax on dispensaries’ gross sales.
According to a new report from Crain’s Detroit Business, the Senate Fiscal Agency estimates it will results in tens of millions of dollars in new taxes.
The report states that the new law will result in up to $63 million in annual taxes. It estimates that the medical cannabis market in Michigan will exceed $700 million annually once fully established.
The law goes into effect this December with a licensing system in place late next year.
The report is based on the state’s current number of patients, which is roughly 204,000. That number is expected to increase significantly in the coming months, however, now that dispensaries have been given the clear thumbs-up by the state’s government.
Despite the large amount of money the new law will garner, many patients are unhappy with a tax on medical cannabis.
“I think it’s a slap in the face”, Becky Sloone, a 54 year old patient in Detroit who suffers from multiple sclerosis, tells The Weed Blog. “There’s no other medicine in the state that’s taxed. It’s like we can only get relief if they get their dime.”
On the other side, many are just happy to have clarity.
“I think the tax is unsavory, but it’s worth having it written clearly into law that dispensaries are legal”, says Mitchel Radcliffe, a 27 year old Grand Rapids resident. He does contend though that “we do need to eventually remove the tax… it’s not really fair”.
In other Michigan news, lawmakers in the city of East Lansing recently passed an ordinance that legalizes the possession and use of up to an ounce of cannabis on private properties for those 21 and older.
For those under 21 it isn’t legalized, but it decriminalized with the maximum charge being a $25 civil infraction.