While Michigan battles the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the State's cannabis industry continues to grow.
Nearly 50,000 Michigan residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and over 4,600 have died from the virus. In order to mitigate the spreading of the virus and the subsequent infection rates and fatalities, the State's Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer's enacted a stay-at-home order, which brought the economy to a grinding halt.
However, now Michigan is wrestling with the economic impacts of a closed economy, such as the closure of its manufacturing sector that ordinarily is a huge boon for the State. As a result, roughly a quarter of Michigan residents have filed for unemployment, and protests are now erupting in retaliation to the stay-at-home order. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing and is threatening both the lives and livelihoods of citizens globally, including Michigan.
However, there is one sector that remains active and thriving amid an otherwise bleak economy; Michigan's cannabis sector.
Michigan's recreational cannabis market began making sales on December 1st last year, and for that month, the State brought in $7 million in retail cannabis sales. By February this year, Michigan's cannabis sales had doubled. And since then, the states cannabis sales have continued growing rapidly, now generating over $7 million per week. From May 4-10, the state saw $7.9 million in recreational sales.
While it may seem bizarre that cannabis sales are spiking in the midst of an economic downturn and staggering job losses, there are several reasons why Michigan is having such success with its cannabis industry.
Firstly, as many will know, as businesses were forced to close amid the spread of the COVID-19 virus, cannabis dispensaries were deemed "essential" across the United States, allowing them to stay open and continue to serve medical marijuana patients and recreational users alike.
Then there's the fact that cannabis sales have spiked nationwide, suggesting that amid the panic and the isolation, many people are turning to cannabis as a form of relief. Lastly, the costs of cannabis in Michigan have been decreasing, and curbside deliveries have made it easier than ever to pick up pot.
The continued strength of Michigan's cannabis industry in this trying time parallels the spike in cannabis sales seen in many states across the country and serves as a reminder of the economic benefits that accompany cannabis legalization. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, perhaps cases such as Michigan's and others will encourage other states to legalize cannabis and capitalize on the job growth and tax revenue that can result.
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