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Recreational marijuana sales set to start this weekend in Michigan

On Sunday, December 1, Michigan is set to become the eighth state in the country where adults can legally purchase marijuana to be used for recreational purposes.

Several dispensaries licensed by Michigan state regulators to sell recreational marijuana intend to start this weekend, a little more than a year after residents voted to legalize pot in the face of ongoing federal prohibition.

Michiganders cast ballots last November to legalize marijuana and set up a system for retail sales, and this month state regulators began issuing their first retail licenses.

Michigan previously voted to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in 2008, and state regulators recently announced that licensed medical dispensaries that have also been authorized to conduct retail sales may transfer up to half of their medical inventory to their recreational inventory starting at 10 a.m. this Sunday, December 1.

At least four dispensaries within the state have since said they plan to begin recreational sales shortly after they can start switching their inventory over in Michigan’s statewide computer system for monitoring and tracking cannabis products, known as Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance, or METRC.

Once dispensaries open their doors to recreational customers, adults 21 and over will be able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to be consumed in private.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana, including the 11 that permit recreational use. Colorado became the first state in the country to let recreational dispensaries operate at the start of 2012, and six others have since followed suit: Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Recreational marijuana sold in Michigan will be subject to a 10% excise tax in addition to the state’s 5% sales tax. The Michigan state House Fiscal Agency has previously estimated that annual recreational marijuana sales will approach $949 million once the retail system is fully established, which would put the state on course to reap more than $150 million in yearly marijuana-related tax revenue.

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