The tightening up of Michigan’s medical cannabis laws and introduction of taxes could see the state reap in millions of dollars.
In October last year, the Michigan House passed legislation to create a strictly-regulated medical marijuana (or ‘marihuana’ as it’s referred to there) industry that would enable patients to purchase medicines at retail dispensaries. These purchases would also be taxed.
The legislation will put a 3 percent tax on the gross retail income of dispensaries and a 6 percent retail sales tax on medical cannabis.
Currently, Michigan’s 182,091 registered medical marijuana patients and 34,269 registered caregivers (December 2015 figures) are existing in a precarious situation legally-speaking. While cultivation, possession and use of the plant by registered persons to treat certain debilitating conditions is legal, selling and buying medical marijuana is still technically illegal.
However, approximately 13 municipalities have passed laws allowing retail outlets to operate; although this operation occurs in a legal grey area given state and federal laws.
Probably as equally as concerning for the government is nobody is paying any sort of additional tax ..yet.
Dr. Gary Wolfram, President of Hillsdale Policy Group, Ltd, was charged with the task of estimating how much the new tax will bring into the state’s coffers. Dr. Wolfram is also a Professor of Economics and Public Policy.
His analysis (PDF) reveals:
“.. a robust free market medical marijuana industry with fair and open competition, as envisioned in the proposed legislation, can generate between $44.3 million to $63.5 million a year in revenue for the State of Michigan”
Dr. Wolfram also estimates House Bills 4209, 4210 and 4827 could generate an estimated 10,000 new jobs in the early years, based on the experience of other states.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) was approved by Michigan voters on November 4, 2008.
The program is available to qualifying patients suffering from cancer, Glaucoma, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease, Nail Patella and a number of conditions resulting from other diseases and treatments.
The Program operates under the Health Licensing Division in the Bureau of Professional Licensing at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.