Medical marijuana regulatory bills head to governor
Last update: September 14, 2016
On September 14, the Michigan Legislature passed a package of bills that will allow, license, and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and other businesses.
After nearly a year stalled in committee, lawmakers reached a compromise earlier in the month and quickly passed a regulatory overhaul of the state’s medical marijuana program. While it represents a dramatic change, the proposed system is similar in most respects to those of other states. Consisting of five bills in total, the changes include new protections for extracts and marijuana-based products, such as edibles and tinctures that rely on extracts. The bills now head to Gov. Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign them.
Legalization and Regulation of Adult Use Marijuana
Unfortunately, the campaign to legalize marijuana access for adults 21 and over did not succeed in its effort seeking help from the state supreme court to intervene in the November election. It now appears likely that the measure will not make the ballot, despite the over 350,000 signatures turned in on June 1, 2016.
Lawmakers themselves could also 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. 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.
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.
While state law prohibits dispensaries from operating — at least until Gov. Snyder signs the package of bills the legislature passed — many communities, including Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Jackson allow them. It is not clear yet when state licensing of dispensaries will begin, but it could be as soon as September 2017.