Skubick: High prices as medical pot supply dwindles

Michigan

There’s a shortage of medical marijuana in Michigan which could impact the health of some 218,000 medical pot card holders.  

The Whitmer administration knew the demand for recreational marijuana would be huge so it move up the date to sell pot from March this year to December of last year.

And, in addition, the administration allowed 50% of the medical pot supply to be shifted to the recreational stores.

The cannabis industry strongly objected, predicting that there would not be enough medical pot for some 218,000 persons.

“We are still struggling with our supply shortage,” said Robin Schneider of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. “Several of our members have completely run out of cannabis flowers.

Schneider adds, ” the retail establishments that are not their own growers, which are a majority of them, are the ones that are really struggling.”

How many of those are there? Schneider answers, “at 100 out of 200.”

There is no data on how many medical pot users are unable to buy their medicine but some fear if they can find it in the store, they will find it in the street, in the black market where the quality of the pot may be iffy.

“I think people are more or less staying in the black market,” said Sen. Jeff Irwin. “Right now low supply has lead to crazy prices and it makes it hard for these dispensaries to compete.”

On top of that, the only doctor in the state senate, is worried that if pot users can’t relieve their pain with that, they could buy opioids instead.

“Lack of pot could conceivably could have people seek out greater relief then they might otherwise require,” explains Sen. John Bizon.

The governor  concedes medical pot advocates are worried about shortages but she argues the state has to make sure pot is safe.

And for the decision to speed up the sale of recreational pot, she says, “the foundation that we are laying is to protect the public.”

And her decision to speed up the date?

She insists “it was the right thing to do.”

The cannabis industry disagrees and wants the governor to reduce some of the testing and growing requirements that would allow more pot to be grown.

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