Medical marijuana regulatory bills signed into law
Last update: September 30, 2016
On September 21, Gov. Rick Snyder signed three bills into law that together establish a framework of protections and regulations for medical marijuana businesses, along with increased protections for those who consume non-smokable forms of medical marijuana.
Vague state laws related to businesses resulted in years of law enforcement interference, unpredictability, and tremendous risk to caregivers and related businesses simply trying to meet the needs of patients. While the new laws represent significant change to the program, we hope the risks will be minimized once the new system is implemented.
Unfortunately, a separate voter initiative effort to legalize marijuana access for adults 21 and over through the voter initiative process did not succeed making the ballot, and subsequent court challenges were unsuccessful. But it isn’t too late for lawmakers to consider a legalization measure. In the fall of 2015, Rep. Jeff Irwin introduced HB 4877 in the House, and you can support his effort by clicking here. 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.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
Like Michigan’s, many medical marijuana laws that passed in the 2000’s and earlier provided clear protections for patients, but did not establish regulations for the businesses that made medical marijuana available to them. But as the population of patients in Michigan grew from thousands, to tens of thousands, to over 200,000 today, the business community serving them also grew. Unfortunately, Michigan’s lack of regulations led to years of harm.
With the passage of the new regulatory system, changes are ahead, particularly for those cultivating or providing medical marijuana. While much of the framework created by the new law is similar to that of other states, it represents big change for Michigan’s program, which has been evolving since 2008. For a summary of many of the changes, click here.
While the new law is now technically in effect, it will take about a year before changes will be in effect. During that time, state regulators will consider, propose, and ultimately adopt the rules under which the new system will operate. There is much to be done in the months ahead!