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.
Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy has released a second draft of their proposed rules regarding the state’s adult-use marijuana regulatory framework. The updated draft can be found here.
On Thursday, May 23, a public hearing will be held in Portland on these rules. This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. Here are the details:
What: Public hearing on adult-use marijuana rules
Where: Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, Portland, Maine 04101
When: Thursday, May 23 at 8:00 a.m.
If you cannot make it to Portland, public comment will still be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. You can submit your online public comment here.
I hope to see you next week and look forward to getting our adult-use program finally up and running.
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.
Last November, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 to establish constitutional protections for medical marijuana patients and create a system for them to safely access medical marijuana. For the past several months, state officials have been making progress in implementing the new law. Here are a few updates:
- The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued draft rules governing physicians and the system they must use to issue medical marijuana recommendations to qualifying patients.
- The law requires the department to finish the rule-writing process by June 4.
- Regulators are also accepting suggestions from the public about rules for the medical marijuana program. Click here to share your opinions with them!
- Patients will be able to apply for a medical marijuana registration card by July 4.
- DHHS has established 10 advisory committees composed of subject matter experts to help review draft questions for the facility license applications. More information about these committees and how feedback can be provided can be found here.
- The state commissioned and published a study by three economists predicting there will be 26,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Missouri by 2022.
Thank you for continuing to support sensible marijuana policy reforms, and stay tuned for more updates from us!
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has begun its public policy discussion for the retail marijuana regulations to implement Question 4. While we will address a few items during the upcoming public hearings, the first few days have generally shown encouraging results! The commission has looked at a variety of issues around marijuana business licensing and has made a few key determinations already:
- Businesses that derive more than 50% of revenue from marijuana may apply for a social consumption license, which would allow on-site consumption of marijuana. Other businesses that derive less than 50% of their revenue from cannabis sales may apply for a mixed-use license and may only sell marijuana in conjunction with another service, such as a restaurant, spa, movie theater, or yoga studio.
- The regulations will give priority review to business license applicants who have lived in areas disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and who hire employees that live in areas of disproportionate impact. This change will help the communities that have been most affected by the racial disparity in enforcement of marijuana prohibition.
- Applicants will receive priority for hiring people with prior drug convictions.
These decisions show the Cannabis Control Commission’s willingness to address the problems created by marijuana prohibition and the racial disparity in its enforcement, and we applaud their willingness to craft a fair and effective regulatory scheme. The commission will continue looking at draft regulations through next week, at which point the rules will be open for public comment. The final regulations are slated for March of next year.
New Mexico is considering rule changes that would make the medical marijuana program less transparent and less accountable. The proposed rules would also make it harder for patients — many of whom are disabled veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain — to access their medicine. Thousands of seriously ill patients are worried that their medicine will be taken away.
The proposed rules would reduce the number of plants that patients could grow from twelve currently to six. They would also create a new $50 patient application fee, force patients to pay for their own criminal background checks, and remove necessary checks and balances in the system. They would also triple the annual fees licensed producers must pay, which would surely be reflected in medical cannabis prices.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has finalized regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center. Unfortunately, the pilot center will be limited to cultivating 150 plants — far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP has submitted comments urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program. While the governor and DHHS refused to lift the cap now, there is a possibility of doing so later if and when the current regulations prove too limited.
DHHS has also issued a compassion center request for proposal (RFP) for a single compassion center. It plans to license one center to begin growing medical marijuana by July of this year. Meanwhile, the department continues to accept applications for medical marijuana ID cards, which will be required for patients seeking to obtain their medicine from a compassion center. If you are interested in reading the RFP or applying for a medical marijuana ID card, please visit the medical marijuana program's website to access the relevant application forms.
Earlier this month, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services issued proposed regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center that could only cultivate 150 plants – far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP submitted comments on behalf of Delaware’s patients and potential providers urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program.
The regulations unnecessarily restrict the compassion center program to a single pilot center that can possess no more than 150 plants and 1,500 ounces of medical marijuana. Gov. Jack Markell announced this approach at a time when the federal government indicated it was concerned about large-scale grows. However, since then, the Department of Justice directed federal prosecutors to stop considering “the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone” as a reason to take legal action against it.
The plant limit will result in shortages, forcing patients to go without or driving them to the criminal market. Meanwhile, a single compassion center does little to help patients who happen to live miles from it. DHSS should register three centers as called for by law.
You can read MPP's proposed revisions here.