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Michigan Mulls Marijuana Regulations Merge

Legislation seeking to remove duplicative marijuana regulations and better support Michigan businesses was introduced to the state’s lawmakers last week.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was approved by the state’s voters on November 4, 2008.  Recreational use has been legal in the state after a 2018 ballot initiative passed with 56% of the vote. The first retail marijuana dispensaries opened to the public on December 1, 2019. Michigan was the first midwestern state to allow both medical and adult-use.

Currently in Michigan, two different state laws regulate marijuana licensees. One is the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) from 2016 that oversees facility regulation and licensing. The other is the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which was passed by the state’s voters in 2018 as part of adult-use being legalized.

State Representatives Graham Filler and Jimmie Wilson, Jr. are seeking to repeal the older medical marijuana law with House Bills 5884-85, which would merge the two. This, they say, would reduce costs for businesses as well as the burden on Michigan’s Cannabis Regulation Agency.

“This is about making Michigan an attractive and stable place for marijuana businesses to thrive,” said Rep. Wilson.  “A single, cohesive regulatory framework will support our growing economy, ensure the safety and quality of marijuana products, and maintain access for medical marijuana patients.”

As an example of the extra cost and administrative burden currently imposed on licensees, they must renew both a medical and recreational license annually to grow, process, transport, or sell marijuana.

A merging would not see any changes to how the medical marijuana system works for registered patients.

The full text of House Bill 5884 can be viewed here, and 5885 here. Both bills have been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

Like most other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Michigan’s medical program is in decline while the recreational side booms by comparison. As at May 31, 2024, 101,160 qualifying patients were registered in the program; a far cry from numbers prior to and shortly after adult-use legalization. At the end of 2019, there were 268,566 patients registered.

Interestingly, approximately 75% of Michigan municipalities have banned adult-use marijuana retailers, and only 172 municipalities out of 1,773 have opted in to the MMFLA.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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