Startups getting involved in Marijuana initiative in Michigan

By August 31, 2017

Several startups and entrepreneurs have their sites on Michigan, as the battle to legalize marijuana continues to play out.

Medical marijuana was legalized back in 2008 by the state of Michigan but the wording of the legislation has left the matter of actually selling marijuana a controversial topic. This is because the legislation is somehow still blurry, even after the laws passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Rick Snyder, which should have set up the framework for production, processing, transportation, and sale of marijuana in Michigan.

Because the previous legislation was not sufficient to give security to the industry, there’s an ongoing petition drive seeking to put a marijuana legalization question on the 2018 statewide ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol needs to collect a total of 252,523 valid signatures by November 22, 2017, to place the initiative on the 2018 midterm ballot.

While the petition might be good news for the marijuana users and entrepreneurs looking to get into the industry, many of the current vendors and dispensaries are worried that yet another change in the law might result in new licensing and cause them to go through yet another costly paperwork process. Though the law would make it easier for new businesses, it would possibly force already operating businesses to suspend their activities until they acquire proper licensing.

Supporting the petition is Weedmaps– a website and app that connect marijuana users to medical and recreational dispensaries. They have been advancing the initiative to bring legalization to the ballot by purchasing advertising space on 40 billboards across the state of Michigan, to display facts about marijuana to the general public.

“As Michigan residents consider a marijuana legalization petition, and changes to dispensary regulatory requirements go into effect throughout the state, there is a lot of marijuana misinformation out there,” a Weedmaps spokesman told The Detroit News, adding “we think it’s important to share and talk about the benefits, underpinned by research, regarding marijuana. We want Michiganders to be informed, and we want to foster open, informed discussion and debate.”

Putting the health and social factors aside, the federal state could benefit from the $1 billion in taxes, generated from sales of legalized marijuana. A report by New Frontier data predicts that legalization of marijuana could lead to the creation of over 250,000 jobs by 2024.

“It has been proven that people wanted to have a place where they can take their passion and work for a company in a burgeoning industry. If they had to start at the bottom, at least there is an enormous amount of growth within the industry,” reported Steve Monas, CEO and founder of Chronic Jobs, a company that focuses on providing marijuana-related jobs.

There is a lot of room for entrepreneurial growth in the industry, and many already existing marijuana-related startups with a wide range of focuses would be quick to expand their services to the state of Michigan. PrestoDoctor, for example, is a web-based service that allows users to acquire their medical marijuana cards seamlessly, after a video chat with a physician. And Eaze is a profitable marijuana home-delivery service, and of course the supporting company, Weedmaps.