Ann Arbor- Nearly two hours before the first sales of recreational marijuana began Sunday, the line at Arbor Wellness snaked Galloway down the block. And Nick St. Onge was the first in line, arriving Clinton Township home shortly before 7am.
“It’s. Historical moment. I wanted to be the one of the first ones to buy legal marijuana and not have to worry about it anymore. I can just walk in and buy it instead of going to somebody on the street to find it. It’s it’s tested and that’s comforting, he said.
The actual first sale at Arbor happened at 9:50am to legendary cannabis activist John Sinclair, a Detroit resident who wracked up three marijuana related arrests in the 1960s and landed a 10 year sentence for giving an undercover cop two joints. His plight attracted the attention of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who headlined a concert in AnnArbor in 1971 to bring attention to Sinclair’s arrest.
These days, Sinclair doesn’t have to worry about finding weed, he’s been smoking every day for decades. But he wanted to be in Ann Arbor to help celebrate the momentous moment for marijuana.
“To me, this is for the other people I’ve been able to get beers for every day since 1962. But I’m glad for the average person that they don’t have to worry about it anymore,” he explained.
Hundreds of people waited in line at the Ann Arbor marijuana retail stores Arbor Wellness, Greenstone Provisions and Executive Brands, on the first day of recreational sales in Michigan. Those were the only three shops open on Sunday with more to come as the state licenses more stores.
“I love cannabis,” hollered one man at Greenstone Provisions.
“You don’t have to run anymore. It’s legal now,” said another man at Ann Arbor Wellness to a pair of runners who passed the line of marijuana customers.
The sales come more than a year after voters approved legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use. Under the baller proposal, use, possession and sales of marijuana are now legal to anyone 21 and older. People can grow up to 12 plants for personal use.
Andrew Brisbo, director of the states Marijuana Regulatory Agency, said he was proud of the state’s ability to get recreational sales started sooner than expected.
“I am proud of the hard work our team put into implement the will of the voters, ahead of the deadline,” he said. But Dr Kevin Sabet, President of the Smart Approaches to marijuana which apposes legalization, said it was a sad day for Michigan.
“An addition for profit, the industry can now target vulnerable companies just like as it has done in other states,” he said. “And it’s only a matter of time before we begin to see its lobbyists bankroll lawmakers and claw away at any and all regulations placed upon it.” Rick Thompson, Owner of the Michigan cannabis Business Development Group, said Sunday was the culmination of decades of work to legalize marijuana,
By 9:30am, around 200 people were waiting in line by the historic yellow house where Greenstone Provisions set up shop. Despite the cold and drizzle, people were in good spirits.
The Ann Arbor Police Department has officer Jennifer Satori on hand to watch the festivities at Arbor Wellness. “It’s been really chill,” she said. “Everyone is in good mood and there have been no problems at all.”