Late in 2018, Michigan approved recreational marijuana, decriminalizing possession and allowing the public to grow its own (while following guidelines). Today, the state is quickly moving on the vote from this past year, aiming to have drafts on the books by June 2019.
The following is a re-post of an article written by Amy Biolchini of MLive
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Michigan officials are writing the rules for the state’s new adult-use marijuana industry, and expect to have drafts done by June.
The state needs to set the rules before it can accept any license applications. Without licensed businesses, there can be no retail sales of marijuana for recreational use — even though voters legalized it four months ago. Rules have to be in place by this December, per state law.
Last week officials with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) met privately with 57 stakeholders that included medical marijuana businesses, lawyers, municipal representatives and interested individuals to seek their feedback on how adult-use marijuana should be regulated.
Attendees said officials didn’t tip their hand as to what rules they were considering and only asked for input.
“I think the folks at LARA are going to act swiftly and quickly,” said Mike Goldman, chief operating officer of Iron Labs, who attended the first day of the meetings. “I think we’ll see some rules taking shape in the next 90 days.”
The state is hosting three more stakeholder work groups this month: April 18 in Detroit, April 19 in Detroit and April 29 in Marquette. Interested parties can email the state at LARA-BMR-Adult-Use-Marijuana@michigan.gov.
For at least the first year of the adult-use marijuana program, most licenses will be issued to businesses that already have a medical marijuana license.
That means medical marijuana provisioning centers may also be able to sell to anyone over the age of 21. How both businesses interact important to Stuart Carter, owner of the Detroit provisioning center Utopia Gardens.
“What we don’t want to do is create a separate entrance way, or separate counters,” Carter said.
Carter said a worker at the counter in the store can use the point-of-sale system to record whether the customer is a patient or a recreational user.
“Keep it simple,” Carter said.
Ben Rosman of PSI Labs, said he’d like to see the state add some more acceptable pesticides — and to hire someone onto their staff that has technical chemistry knowledge. He’d also like to see the state regularly meet with testing labs to determine what’s working and what’s not working — instead of changing rules only when lobbied.
“A lot of that (change) has come from us nudging and pushing and lobbying,” Rosman said. “I started this coalition of testing labs. A big part of that is so we would have a unified voice in pushing them harder.”
Municipal leaders asked state regulators for more communication during rule changes — and to back up local ordinances.
“Overwhelmingly, all of the municipalities are looking for some kind of support for whatever we intend to implement at a local level,” said Cindy Berry, the elected clerk in Chesterfield Township. “We’re looking for support from the state to be able to have some teeth in that.”
Implementing objective licensing programs, providing guidance and clear interpretations of the law were major requests from municipal leaders to state officials.
“We would like to see rules that help us in that process and allow us to have similar zoning for both types, and we also wanted to impart on the state that we need strong partnerships with municipalities — not that the state has not assisted us, but there’s differences or maybe a lack of communication between the state and the municipalities as we’ve all been through this process for the past year or so,” said Adrian City Attorney Tamaris Henagan.
Some communities are afraid that the new marijuana businesses will fail, and leave empty storefronts in their community, said Landon Bartley, senior planner with the city of Grand Rapids.
“At the end of the day, this is just another industry. And so, sure it has impacts, and some of those impacts are yet to be determined,” Bartley said. “If we’re going to regulate this industry more than others, we’re going to have to ask ourselves why. And if we can’t tie it to a specific impact, we’re in trouble. That’s sort of been our approach as a city.”
Here are the individuals that participated in the first round of stakeholder work groups:
Industry players: Steven Barnstable of Green Tranquility LLC Detroit, Bill Black, Stuart Carter of Utopia Gardens, Brian Doelle, Michael Goldman of Iron Laboratories, Wesley Lutz of Choice Labs, John McLeod of Oak Flint, Penny Milkey of Northern Specialty Health, Joseph Neller of Green Peak Industries, Michael Pedrosi, Benjamin Rosman of PSI Labs, Valerie Sanfilippo, Timothy Schuler of Lelantos Transport, William Tabor of BlueSol Biolmedical
Lawyers: Matthew Abel, Mike Bahoura, Jennifer Domingue, John Fraser, Robert Hendricks, Allison Ireton, Joey Kejbou, Alexander Leonowicz, Devin Loker, Joseph Lucas, Douglas Mains, Denise Pollicella, Alan Shamoun
Municipalities: Amber Abbey, Keith Baker, Landon Bartley, Cindy Berry, Michael Burns, Denny Corrado, Reed Eriksson, Tamaris Henagan, Christopher Johnson, Catherine Kaufman, Floyd Kloc, Jennifer Smith-Zande, Lauren Trible-Laucht, Kathryn Underwood, Ethan Vinson
Interested individuals: Michelle Beeck, Margeaux Bruner, Ethan Cortazzo, Hilary Dulany, Josh Gibson, Ian Gorsche, Brett McMillen, Jerry Millen, Erica Peninger, Richard Rhynard, Brandon Riley, Mitzi Ruddock, Luke Schmidt, Kimberly Scott, Rick Thompson
— Amy Biolchini is the marijuana beat reporter for MLive. Contact her with questions, tips or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more from MLive about recreational marijuana.
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.