Legalization initiative qualifies for the 2018 ballot
Last update: July 13, 2018
Backed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Michigan’s initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana recently advanced to the November ballot. Recent polling indicates that voters mostly support the proposal but are closely split.
The initiative would create six categories of licensed marijuana businesses that would be regulated by the state and also be subject to local control. This includes cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, retailers, and microbusinesses.
Additionally, the initiative would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, which can be used to produce foods, textiles, paper, plastics, and biofuels. Possession for adults 21 and over would be limited to 2.5 ounces, which is similar to the state’s medical marijuana law. Adults 21 and over could also grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residences.
In other marijuana policy news, state regulators have introduced a number of significant changes to Michigan’s existing medical marijuana program after passage of a 2016 law designed to create stricter regulations and address other issues within the program. State officials also recently approved 11 new qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, including autism.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
In 2008, 63% of voters approved a medical marijuana measure spearheaded by MPP. Like other medical marijuana laws that passed prior to Pres. Barack Obama’s election (which led to the federal government adopting a hands-off approach on well regulated medical marijuana programs), Michigan’s original law provided clear protections for patients and caregivers, but did not establish regulations for the businesses that made medical marijuana available to them.
As the population of patients in Michigan grew from thousands, to tens of thousands, to over 200,000, the business community serving them also grew. Unfortunately, Michigan’s lack of regulations led to years of harm.
Earlier this year, lawmakers passed three bills that together overhaul the state’s medical marijuana program. While an improvement in many ways, it is not without its controversies, particularly for those businesses that have been operating since voters approved MPP’s medical marijuana initiative in 2008.
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!
Current marijuana laws in Michigan
Medical marijuana is permitted. An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from one or more of the following conditions:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Nail Patella
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic or debilitating nausea
- Severe pain and chronic pain
- Seizures (including epilepsy)
- Persistent muscle spasms (including multiple sclerosis)
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal cord injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
Patients can obtain medical marijuana from their registered designated primary caregiver or grow their own.
Retail medical marijuana provisioning centers are expected to open in 2018. State regulatory officials are currently laying the foundation for the licensure and regulation of medical marijuana businesses.
Timeline of marijuana policy reform in Michigan
2008: Voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious health issues
2016: Michigan’s legislature enacted a law expanding the state’s existing medical marijuana program to include licensing and regulation of medical marijuana businesses