by Courtney Llewellyn
Back in March, Michigan State University released a report titled “The Market For and Economic Impact of the Adult-Use Recreational Marijuana Industry in Michigan.” (The entire report is at https://tinyurl.com/y3l48dj4.) It begins by stating, “With recent passage of adult-use (recreational) marijuana, the industry in Michigan appears to be maturing rapidly. However, some obstacles to growth exist. Undeveloped testing systems and local options to ban the sale of recreational marijuana induces uncertainty throughout the value chain.”
The sale of marijuana (and products derived from it) is of great concern to those who grow it. While a lot of cannabis is sold through brick-and-mortar stores, there are those looking to sell at a place other greens are usually sold – farmers markets. Is this possible? And how do growers, market operators and shoppers all participate in this trade safely?
That was the focus of a webinar hosted by Michelle Gagliardi of the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA). She noted that a 2020 Food Safety Education Fund Grant allowed MIFMA to take “a deep dive” into cannabis-related questions posed by market managers, into the legalization of certain cannabis products in the state and cannabis regulations in Michigan. MIFMA used the grant to create educational resources and outline best practices for farmers markets.
Much of the information is laid out in easy-to-read, color-coded graphs on the MIFMA website. One chart breaks down product type, whether or not it’s legal to sell it at a farmers market, whether or not a license is required to sell said product and who regulates the product in question. It also clearly defines cannabis, hemp, marijuana, CBD and THC, and lists the agencies growers and market managers should contact if they have questions.
MIFMA’s Professional Development Manager Jenny Radon focused more on market managers when discussing language for a market regarding cannabis sales. “Why include cannabis language in your market policies?” she asked. “First, it sets clear guidance and lets vendors and shoppers know what is and is not allowed at your farmers market. Second, vendors may be interested in selling and they might have questions, and your language can provide answers and resources. Third, you may get questions from shoppers about what they are or aren’t seeing at the market.”
Before any of that happens, though, market managers can decide if cannabis products are a good fit for their markets by considering their stated mission, sponsor positions on the products, the property owner’s position and local ordinances.
As the legalization of marijuana is adopted in more and more states, it’s wise to study what they’re doing for sales, especially for growers.
To learn more about what MIFMA is doing to help, visit MIFMA.org.