On September 21, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed three bills into law to clarify Michigan’s existing medical marijuana law, which was approved by voters in 2008. The new laws authorize states to regulate the sale of medical marijuana through local dispensaries, legalize marijuana-infused products, and establish a “seed-to-sale” tracking system to verify that all medical marijuana being dispensed has been tested for safety. The new law, which will take effect on December 20, 2016, is expected to impact more than 180,000 medical marijuana patients living in Michigan.
Problems with the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
The legislative overhaul of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) is much overdue given the confusion among patients and medical marijuana dispensaries in the aftermath of the 2008 voter-approved measure. The 2008 law lacked clear regulations regarding medical marijuana dispensaries, which put qualifying patients, businesses, and caregivers at risk.
Because the MMMA is ambiguous and inconsistent, it led to varied interpretations among different counties. The hope is that the newly enacted regulations will create safe access to medical marijuana.
What Are the New Medical Marijuana Regulations?
PA 281 (HB 4209)
- Enacts the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act to provide for the licensing and regulation of growers, processors, secure transporters, dispensaries, and safety compliance facilities.
- Establishes the licensure process within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
- Creates the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board within LARA to oversee the licensing process and authorizes the Board to administer and enforce the Act.
- Imposes a 3% tax on the retail gross income of licensed dispensaries, which will be deposited in the newly-created Medical Marijuana Excise Fund. The tax is expected to raise around 21.3 million per year.
PA 282 (HB 4210)
- Amends the voter-approved Michigan Medical Marijuana Act to legalize and regulate the manufacture and use of marijuana-infused products such as lotions, tinctures, oils, and edibles for qualifying patients.
- A qualifying patient or primary caregiver may not possess more than a combined total of 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and usable marijuana equivalents (i.e. non-smokable forms of marijuana).
PA 283 (HB 4827)
- Enacts the Medical Marihuana Tracking Act, which creates a seed-to-sale tracking system to monitor the testing and safety of all marijuana being dispensed.
Under the new laws, medical marijuana dispensaries would have to obtain written approval from a municipality before opening their doors. The legislation also gives municipalities the authority to limit the number and location of dispensaries. Prospective growers, processors, dispensaries, secure transporters, and safety compliance facilities may begin applying for state operating licenses 360 days after the effective date of the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act.
Experienced Defense For Your Medical Marijuana Case
If you’re facing charges for the possession, cultivation, or delivery of medical marijuana, you need the help of an experienced Michigan medical marijuana lawyer. At DeBruin Law, our attorneys will help you understand your legal rights and work to obtain the best outcome possible in your case. We will fight to protect your freedom and be by your side every step of the way.