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Michigan News- October 2018

Ballot Language: Marijuana Legalization, Prop 1

DELTA TOWNSHIP- 100 words summarize the ballot Proposal 1,to legalize marijuana, under wording approved by the Board of State Canvassers.  The full proposal takes up five pages, but the Board of State Canvassers had to distill the long proposal into the 100 words that will appear on the ballot. 

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said it approved of the final proposal wording.

"This ballot language makes clear that Proposal 1 will create a strongly regulated system that gives adults 21 and older the personal freedom to consume without fear of arrest while generating millions in new dollars for roads, schools and local governments -- three of our state's most under-funded needs," said group spokesman Josh Hovey. 

"What this language does not explain, however, is that there are many more restriction in place than what has been approved: communities will have the authority to restrict or ban marijuana businesses; driving under the influence will remain strictly illegal; businesses will retain their right to test and ban their employees from using; and public consumption would still be strictly illegal."

The proposal will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot as; Proposal 1. 

 “A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers."

The proposal would:

• Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

• Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces to be secured in locked containers.

• Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.

• Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

• Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

If Michigan voters approve the marijuana legalization measure, the state would become the 10th in the nation and the first in the Midwest to legalize pot for recreational use.

In addition to the legal weed issue, the Board of Canvassers also approved a measure to increase access to voting for the Nov. 6 ballot.

The Promote the Vote constitutional amendment would authorize absentee voting for all voters, regardless of reason, allowing voters to register and cast ballots up to and on the same day as elections and requiring post-election audits. Currently, the cutoff for voter registration is 30 days before an election.

Besides the marijuana legalization and Promote the Vote, voters will also get to consider an anti-gerrymandering proposal that will change the way state and federal legislative district lines are drawn.


Permanent Pot Rules in Place by Late November

LANSING- Permanent rules for the state’s growing medical marijuana industry should be in place by late November, a state officials claim.

State regulators took comment from more than a dozen people Monday on the proposed Medical Marihuana Facilities rules that create a framework for the industry. Existing medial marijuana businesses have been operating under emergency rules since May.

Those rules expire Nov. 30, “so we want to make sure we have this framework in place,” said Andrew Brisbo, director for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation.

The final draft rules will be posted and then submitted to the state’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which will have 15 session days to act on the proposed rules.

Among the concerns expressed by those commenting Monday were low THC allowances for topical medical marijuana treatments, the time-intensive application process and demands for information from caregivers that could affect their licensing prospects.

“What they’re doing is they're going to freeze out from the business anyone who’s been operating within the last 10 years,” said Matthew Abel, a cannabis lawyer and executive director of Michigan NORML.

Even as the bureau adopts the rules, Brisbo said, it will engage with its advisory to the board to continue to review the framework. 

“We expect the administrative rules for this industry to be a consistent evolution as the industry itself evolves,” Brisbo said.

The hearing comes a few days after an appellate judge granted an injunction against the state, allowing all medical marijuana businesses currently operating under emergency rules while applying for licenses to continue operating through Dec. 15.

Survey Says; NO to Pot

ANN ARBOR- Three out of four Michigan communities don't want medical marijuana businesses, according to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan.

The survey conducted by U-M's Ford School of Public Policy polled city and township officials about whether they've opted in or opted out to the state's medical marijuana program.

The results found 75 percent of local officials have decided to opt out of the program.

And most of those communities -- 46 percent -- chose to opt out by taking no action at all on the issue.

The survey -- conducted online for most municipalities and by mail for others -- garnered a 70 percent response rate, said Tom Ivacko, associate director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M's Ford School of Public Policy.

Just eight percent of Michigan communities said they have opted in to the state's Medical Marihuana and Facilities Licensing Act, thereby allowing businesses to open in their jurisdiction, according to the survey.

That's slightly higher than information the state has collected: 108 cities and townships out of 1,773 -- or six percent -- have passed resolutions to opt-in, according to an unofficial list compiled by the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation.

Even with businesses permitted in a quarter of Michigan towns and townships, it's generated more than 700 business applications to the state, according to the latest figures from regulators.


Home Delivery? Regulators Give it Consideration

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs held a public hearing on proposed rules governing medical marijuana. The biggest change in the rules is allowing for home delivery of cannabis for people with medical marijuana cards.

Home delivery will become an option for licensed dispensaries as soon as permanent rules are approved by a legislative commission and put in place by LARA later this year and after it approves each dispensary's plans for the service.  Those plans must include proof that employees meet state requirements.

 “People who are disabled can’t get out of their car and we can’t do curbside service,” a dispensary owner in Walled Lake said. “So delivery is the way to go. If you find a place that has what you need and it’s 45 minutes away and they’re willing to deliver to you, it’s a great idea.

As an employee of the dispensary, delivery workers will have to go through a background check before being allowed to work for the facility. They will be able to deliver up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana a day to registered patients and up to 10 ounces of pot per month. They won’t be able to make more than three deliveries per trip and their vehicles must be equipped with navigational systems so the dispensaries can keep track of where they are during deliveries.

Because of the small amounts of marijuana being delivered, the service won't fall under the secure transport license designation. That license covers transportation of large amounts of marijuana from grow facilities to dispensaries for sale.
The dispensary will be able to accept online orders and payments from qualified patients or accept cash payment upon delivery.

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