Tax and Regulate

Michigan: The wait for legal marijuana stores will soon be over

Regulators have announced December 1 as the first day of adult-use sales

Big news! Starting next month, Michiganders will be able to legally purchase marijuana from regulated businesses. Yesterday, officials with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced that a “dozen or so” existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be authorized to open their doors and sell a portion of their supply to adults 21 and older on December 1.

It’s been just over a year since voters approved Proposal 1, which ended marijuana prohibition and paved the way for the establishment of a legal marijuana market. Since then, state regulators have worked expeditiously to establish a regulatory framework for legal sales. Compared to other legalization states, Michigan’s implementation timeline has been fairly quick.

In just a few weeks, adults in Michigan will be able to legally purchase marijuana from a licensed business. This is a huge milestone, because shifting marijuana sales into a regulated environment is a win for public health and public safety. And this was one of the primary goals when MPP decided to launch the legalization ballot initiative campaign back in 2017. This is what it looks like when we win.

Thanks to the hard work of the MPP staff and campaign team, volunteers, generous donors, and the wisdom of the voters, we’re seeing the beginning of a new chapter of marijuana policy in Michigan.

But marijuana remains federally illegal, and there are still only 11 legal states, so please consider contributing to MPP to help us bring reform to the rest of the country.

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Tax and Regulate

Legalization + social justice in Michigan

If you live in Michigan, ask your state legislators to support automatic expungement for low-level marijuana offenses.

For decades, marijuana prohibition destroyed lives and harmed communities in Michigan. Fortunately, voters said enough is enough and passed Prop 1 last year. As the state now moves forward with implementing a legal marijuana market, we must take steps to undo past injustices and support those who have been most impacted by punitive marijuana laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has publicly called for prior low-level marijuana offenses to be erased from individuals' criminal records. And now, state Sen. Jeff Irwin is sponsoring legislation, SB 263, to automatically expunge prior marijuana use and possession convictions, which could affect nearly 250,000 residents in the state.

Send a letter to your state legislators and ask them to support this important legislation.

In a related update, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently released rules to implement Prop 1's social equity provisions. Residents of the 19 cities in which marijuana arrests rates were disproportionately higher than the rest of the state will be eligible for technical assistance, fee reductions, and educational resources to help them get a leg up in obtaining a marijuana business license. You can find a list of the cities and more details about the new regulations here.

As Michigan finds itself in an exciting new era of legalization, we cannot leave behind those who have suffered as a result of prohibition. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking steps to address these issues, and we will continue monitoring the state's progress.

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Tax and Regulate

Michigan regulators publish rules for implementing adult-use legalization

Last week, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued emergency rules signed by Gov. Whitmer to guide the process of establishing a legal cannabis market for adults in Michigan.

The new regulations include several forward-thinking provisions, including the creation of licenses for on-site cannabis consumption areas and temporary events, so long as they are permitted by the local town or city government. The guidelines also address how the agency will work to promote participation in the cannabis industry by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition. You can read a summary of the emergency rules here. Head regulators have announced their intention to begin accepting applications for marijuana business licenses by November, and sales are expected to start early next year.

MPP was the driving force behind passage of Proposal 1 — the 2018 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Michigan. We are excited to see implementation moving forward, and we are proud of the progress that is being made. The voters agreed with us that prohibition must be dismantled, and now, we are watching that happen!

We are grateful to all of you who have steadfastly supported our marijuana reform efforts over the years. The hard work is paying off. Let's remain engaged and ensure that the implementation process in Michigan continues to follow the spirit and letter of the law.

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Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Developments in Michigan’s adult-use and medical marijuana programs

The Marijuana Policy Project led the successful 2018 campaign to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Michigan. Since voters approved Prop 1 last November, Michigan’s marijuana landscape has seen significant changes. A few recent updates are worth bringing to your attention.

In March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order establishing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The new agency will soon replace the controversial Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, which held its final meeting last week. Read more here.

A Michigan court overruled a previous deadline and is allowing dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open around the state, as caregivers continue to supply the market. Licensed businesses, which must comply with stricter regulations, want regulators to close these unlicensed entities down. A bill in the legislature would require businesses to be licensed by June 1 to continue operating.

State regulators are considering ways to satisfy a portion of Michigan’s adult-use legalization law that requires “a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marihuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marihuana prohibition.” The provision was included to address the fact that communities of color saw significantly higher marijuana arrest rates compared to predominantly white areas under the old law.

The final rules for Michigan’s adult-use marijuana market are due this December. As regulators and stakeholders continue to shape the future of marijuana in the state, we’ll keep you informed about new developments.

Stay tuned!

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