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The Future of Michigan’s Booming Cannabis Industry      

Last week, the Chamber’s “The Business of Cannabis: Impact and Opportunities” showcased the potential of Michigan’s already booming cannabis industry. Speakers shed light on the future of drug testing in the workplace, economic opportunities in the industry, and workforce development through criminal record expungement. 

“It’s not just a medicine, it’s always been a business,” said Denise A. Pollicella, founder and managing partner at Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan. “It is on pace to bring in more revenue than that of the national football league.” 

Since Michigan voters moved to legalize the adult use of cannabis last year, businesses have begun to revise their hiring and management procedures when it comes to drug testing and criminal records. Eric Mahler, assistant general counsel at Meritor Inc., said the automobile components manufacturer may consider revising their policy on cannabis. 

“There’s a struggle in our company whether or not to keep the zero-tolerance policy when we need workers,” said Mahler. “Are we going to sacrifice workers that we really need?” 

For the people who served time behind bars for cannabis-related crimes, most still face the repercussions even with the legalization of adult use.  

Most people formerly incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes are not taking advantage of expungement laws, said Maurice Morton, managing partner of The Morton Law Group. This hinders their ability to obtain jobs, which is why law firms like The Morton Law Group offer expungement services for free. 

“There’s talk of automatic expungement which is what is needed,” said Morton. “It’s necessary to make it easier for them because jobs in this state are great, they’re high paying.”  

The industry’s growth is also generating new job opportunities in Michigan. One in-demand job is as a “budtender” which are salesclerks who guide buyers with their cannabis purchases, explained Allison Ireton, founder of cannabis dispensary Bloom City Club. 

“These are $20 an hour jobs that aren’t going away,” said Ireton. “They’re revitalizing retail. You can’t order this on Amazon.”