This September, Governor Rick Snyder signed three bills into law that have important implications for Michigan’s 180,000-odd medical marijuana patients and their providers. Since a 2008 ballot initiative legalized medical marijuana, the authorities and the public have struggled to put in place a sustainable medical marijuana industry. After several court rulings, many dispensaries, and some patients found themselves in legal gray areas. For better or for worse, the new laws will clarify the status of legal marijuana in Michigan.
New Laws Redefine Michigan’ Medical Marijuana Framework
Michigan’s caregivers and dispensaries will have 360 days to reach compliance with the following laws:
- Public Act 281 (formerly House Bill 4209) is the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, which defines the licensing requirements and regulations pertaining to the growth, processing, transport, and distribution of medical marijuana.
- Public Act 282 (formerly House Bill 4210) amends the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act to permit the manufacture, sale, and possession of marijuana-infused products by licensed patients.
- Public Act 283 (formerly House Bill 4827) is the Marihuana Tracking Act, which puts in place the so-called “seed-to-sale” tracking system for all medical marijuana grown and distributed in the state.
How will the New Rules Impact Patients and Caregivers?
Under the new rules, patients will be able to possess and use marijuana-infused products such as lotions, oils, and edibles. Patients will not be allowed to possess more than the equivalent of 1 ounce of medical marijuana to which they are currently entitled. This amounts to no more than 16 ounces of a marijuana-infused product in a solid form, 7 grams in a gaseous form, or 36 fluid ounces in liquid form.
There is speculation that the extra regulations will increase medical marijuana prices, which might push some patients to look to the black market for their medicine. For example, the state will recover a 3% tax on all marijuana or marijuana products sold in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will create a Medical Marihuana Licensing Board that will oversee the activities of marijuana growers and distributors, and may also create new regulations. The current regulations include:
- A “seed-to-sale” tracking system involving the precise labeling and tracking of all marijuana products in the state through the use of computer databases and scan codes.
- Only licensed professionals can transport marijuana
- Products must be tested in “safety compliance facilities” before being sold
- Medical marijuana businesses will have to pay a $3,000 license application fee
- Dispensaries may operate between 9am to 10pm, must display their license, and cannot have drive-through windows
- Marijuana facilities must have security cameras
- The state cannot confiscate the property of licensed medical marijuana business under the guise of civil asset forfeiture
- marijuana businesses must follow stricter employment practices
What’s the Penalty for Violating these Rules?
Violations of these business-oriented regulations may result in fines of $5,000 per individual and $10,000 per organization or the sum of daily sales—whichever is greater. Counties and municipalities will also be able to shut down non-compliant medical marijuana businesses as public nuisances. As for patients, they may face illegal drug possession or distribution charges if they fail to obey the new rules.
Consult a Knowledgeable Medical Marijuana Lawyer
Whether you’re a patient, a grower, a caregiver, or a dispensary, it’s essential that you understand and comply with these new regulations if you want to avoid legal trouble. If the authorities attempt to interfere with your medical marijuana treatment or business, you can count on the Detroit medical marijuana lawyers of Davis Law Group to help you. For more information, call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation.