Two legalization bills under consideration
Last update: March 7, 2016
Michigan lawmakers are now considering two bills that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult consumers 21 years old and over. In the fall of 2015, Rep. Jeff Irwin introduced HB 4877 in the House, and you can support his effort by clicking here. This year, Sen. Coleman Young II introduced a separate bill in the Senate, SB 813. Both of these bills would end marijuana prohibition in the state, not only stopping the harsh penalties for adults who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol, but also helping reduce the illicit marijuana trade and bringing much needed revenue — estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars — to state coffers.
Meanwhile, MILegalize continues to gather signatures in support of its effort to place a legalization and regulation measure before voters during the November 8, 2016 election. The organization, which includes a large contingent of marijuana activists and medical marijuana businesses throughout the state, has been gathering signatures since the summer of 2015. While outside the typical six-month signature gathering window, organizers are working with state officials in an effort to ensure every name will count.
On the medical front, several bills would together establish a regulatory system for medical cannabis production and distribution. These bills remain under consideration, but there have been few signs of movement since the start of the year. Rep. Mike Callton’s HB 4209 would establish much-needed protections for Michigan’s medical marijuana businesses, but the bill has been burdened with several unreasonable provisions. A second bill, HB 4210, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Lyons, would clearly allow extractions and the products made from them, such as edibles. A third related bill, Rep. Klint Kesto’s HB 4827, would require an electronic “seed to sale” tracking system for cannabis plants and cannabis products. A regulatory system is overdue. There are far too many cases in which those who provide critical services to help the state’s seriously ill patients are treated like criminals in Michigan.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
Application forms, along with the full text of the law and accompanying regulations, can be found at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
Under the MMMA, patients can choose to either cultivate their own medical marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility or to designate a caregiver to do so for them. Caregivers can assist no more than five patients. Also, note that in late 2012, the legislature passed several bills that changed the way the program works. While state law prohibits dispensaries from operating, many communities, including Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Jackson. Detroit enacted regulations in February 2016 that limit the total number and impose various restrictions on dispensaries, while still allowing them to operate in the city. Here’s a helpful summary of those new laws.