Five Years of Legal Weed in Michigan

The state’s cannabis industry has soared since Michigan became the first Midwest state to legalize recreational sales in 2018.
Image from AdobeStock

Five years ago, on Dec. 6, 2018, after a decisive victory at the polls the month before, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act took effect, legalizing recreational cannabis in the state. It was the culmination of years of effort by activists aiming to end the war on drugs.

Since then, the Michigan cannabis industry has exploded, generating over $2 billion in sales — and consequently $200 million-plus in tax revenue — in 2022 and supporting more than 30,000 jobs, the second most of any state behind California. Here, we highlight some key facts and figures that capture our state’s cannabis landscape five years on.

Monthly recreational sales then and now

  • First Month of Cannabis (December 2019): $6,989,306
  • Most recent month (September 2023): $269,813,093

Celebrities in the Michigan cannabis business

Method (rapper in Wu Tang Clan)

Photograph courtesy of Alamy

TICAL (Taking into Consideration All Lives), debuted in 2022

Calvin Johnson Jr. (former Detroit Lions player)

Photograph courtesy of Alamy

Primitiv, launched in 2021 with fellow ex-Lion Rob Sims

Wiz Khalifa (rapper)

Photograph courtesy of Alamy

Khalifa Kush debuted in 2022

Mike Tyson (boxer)

Photograph courtesy of Alamy

Tyson 2.0 launched in 2023

Griz (DJ, songwriter, and electronic music producer)

Photograph courtesy of Alamy

Astro hippie, launched in 2021

Michigan was the first state in the Midwest state to legalize recreational cannabis

Medical and recreational and medical only are listed in order of legalization date (left to right, top to bottom)

Recreational and medical cannabis

Icons courtesy of Adobestock

Medical only

Icons courtesy of Adobestock


Icons courtesy of Adobestock

Where Michigan ranks among states in sales

Icons courtesy of Adobestock

Arrests for marijuana possession or sales in Michigan

  • In 2017 (pre-legalization): 18,767
  • In 2022 (most recent year stats are available: 554

Jobs and licenses in the Michigan Cannabis Industry

As of September 2023

  • Employees: 34,311
  • Grower licenses: 2,076
  • Retailers: 729
  • Processor licenses: 370
  • Provisioning centers: 274
  • Safety compliance facility licenses: 51
  • Event organizers: 46
  • Transporter licenses: 41
  • Micro-businesses: 16
  • Consumption lounges: 2

A timeline of cannabis in Michigan

  • Nov. 2008: Medical cannabis is legalized
  • Sept. 2016: Medical marijuana facilities licensing act is passed
  • Dec. 2018: Recreational cannabis is legalized
  • Dec. 2019: Recreational sales begin
  • March 2020: First recreational dispensary opens in metro Detroit (Walled Lake)
  • March 2022: First consumption lounge opens (Hazel Park)
  • Jan. 2023: First dispensary opens in Detroit
  • Sept. 2023: First consumption lounge at a festival opens (Arts, Beats & Eats)

Municipalities opted in to recreational cannabis

The Michigan cannabis industry supports more than 30,000 jobs, the second most of any state behind California.

Excise taxes disbursed to counties and municipalities in 2023

Recreational cannabis sales in the state come with a 10 percent excise tax, and a portion of the revenue is distributed back to cities and counties based on the number of dispensaries within their borders. 

This story is from the December 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.