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In Kalamazoo, budding bureaucracy accompanies pot industry

In the world of government, today's coordinator is tomorrow's department

The sale of legal, recreational cannabis is big business in Michigan. But as the pot business grows, should a bureaucracy grow alongside it? In each community?

The Kalamazoo City Commission will vote Monday on whether to create a "cannabis coordinator" job, at a cost of roughly $83,000 per year.

The pot business in Kalamazoo is growing like weeds, MLive reports: 

In 2022, the city has 21 cannabis businesses with 40 licenses. In 2023, there are 22 potential new businesses with 36 potential new licenses. That could add up to a possible new total of 41 potential businesses with 76 potential licenses that all require annual renewal, the city said.

The Community Planning and Development Department is asking for approval of the position. The city employee would be responsible for coordinating a network of consultants, cannabis stakeholders, downtown stakeholders and entrepreneurship support organizations for the purposes of enhancing engagement that leads to advancing the city’s mission of shared economic prosperity, the city agenda packet states.

Today, Kalamazoo wants to hire one cannabis coordinator. How long before that coordinator needs help? How long before a coordinator births an entire department? 

After Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in Nov. 2008, a state bureaucracy sprang up to coordinate. After Michigan voters legalized recreational pot in Nov. 2018, the marijuana bureaucracy continued to grow.

In Kalamazoo, we see the beginnings of a new pot bureaucracy. What's happening in your town?

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.