For years, Michigan has enjoyed its status as a hotspot for Ohioans seeking affordable and accessible cannabis. With dispensaries dotting the border between the two states, Michigan has welcomed a steady influx of out-of-state customers.
However, Ohio is now poised to challenge Michigan’s dominance in the cannabis market. On November 7, Ohioans will vote on Issue 2, a proposal to legalize recreational cannabis. If approved, this proposal would allow adults aged 21 and over in Ohio to purchase, possess, and cultivate marijuana for recreational use. The framework of the proposal is quite similar to Michigan’s, with a 10% tax added to the state sales tax for cannabis purchases.
Tom Haren, the spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, has noted that the two biggest opponents of Issue 2 are Michigan dispensary owners and drug dealers. The reason for their concern is clear: Michigan’s cannabis prices have been highly attractive to Ohio residents. With an increase in the number of dispensaries, prices in Michigan have come down, and various discount deals are now available to attract customers.
However, businesses in Ohio believe they can match Michigan’s prices. They hope that the new proposal will not only make it easier for existing patients in Ohio’s medical program, which has suffered from limited access and plummeting prices, but also drive down prices for recreational users.
While Ohio’s potential entry into the cannabis market could pose a challenge to Michigan’s burgeoning industry, there will be an adjustment period. If the proposal passes in November, it will take some time to establish the framework for the new program. Market dynamics in new cannabis states are often unpredictable.
For instance, when Missouri initiated adult-use cannabis sales, it affected demand in Illinois along the border, although the cannibalization was not as severe as initially expected.
Michigan’s head start in the cannabis industry, with voters approving legal adult-use marijuana in 2018, may give it an advantage. However, Ohio’s potential success with this proposal could impact Michigan’s revenue from cannabis sales, which partly funds schools and road maintenance.
In summary, the upcoming vote on recreational cannabis legalization in Ohio has the potential to challenge Michigan’s cannabis industry and may have economic ramifications for the state.