On Nov. 6, 2018, Michigan became the 10th state in the nation to approve recreational use of marijuana. The residents of Michigan are now part of the estimated 25 percent of Americans that live in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana.

Medical marijuana has been able to flourish for 10 years in Michigan with The Reef, a dispensary, being at the top of the industry — raising the bar for the customer experience and product quality. When I received the opportunity to take The Reef to the next frontier, it was an easy decision to make.

My position at The Reef is to refine and standardize our operations, while creating a strategy for growth. With the recreational ballot proposal passing, it was imperative that the strategy in place was flexible enough to accommodate the large increase in potential customers.

The passing of the recreational marijuana ballot is much more meaningful to the residents of Michigan. This initiative will expand upon an already thriving industry through the creation of new jobs and additional tax revenue for the state and local municipalities.

Colorado, reported $1.5 billion in marijuana sales, of which $247 million was generated in tax revenues for 2017. Michigan has nearly double the population of Colorado and with close to 300,000 medical marijuana card holders registered.

I had the opportunity to bring in Evan Pilot, The Reef’s Financial Comptroller, on board to assess the financial implications of this new market. We aspire to be the best at what we do regardless of what market we are in, that takes careful planning and precise execution.

The Reef’s expansion will include 100-plus new job opportunities coming in the upcoming years. We hope to have multiple dispensary locations throughout the state with our headquarters focused in Detroit. The employment opportunities for local residents along with high-paying jobs for industry experts will make The Reef an attractive employer for all.

As part of our core values to maintain product integrity, we will also pursue vertical integration. This means we will be cultivating, processing, manufacturing, packaging, and distributing to our dispensary locations. Expanding into these other areas requires diligent innovation, which The Reef embraces with open arms. One of our main areas of pursuit is research and development.

The Reef is passionate about innovation within the industry, including empirical research with definitive result, that will help progress the industry as a whole. Creating better and more efficient methods of production will ensure that the savings are passed on to the customer while maintaining the highest level of quality.

With expansion, comes the responsibility to give back to the community that have and continue to support us. The Reef has participated in fundraising activities, but we aren’t stopping there. We plan to revitalize broken neighborhoods, strengthening community relationships, volunteering our time, and hold fundraisers with local charities. In the spirit of sharing, we will also provide free seminars and educational classes to learn more about the medical marijuana industry for those interested in participating in the industry or just looking to understand more about the effects of consuming marijuana.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our patients. Coming into the medical marijuana industry from the outside corporate world, I am seeing the revolution and beginnings of a new industry that will pave the way for many others and become a major part of our society and culture. It is exciting and invigorating to see the American Dream still has a foothold in our globalized economy and having the open mind to embrace recreational marijuana.

Rush Hasan is operations and business development director at The Reef, a Detroit marijuana provisioning center. 

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