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Michigan News - May 2019



Michigan Republicans Cashing In On The Cannabis Industry

Despite years of resistance and fear mongering propaganda, Republicans in Michigan are making a mad dash to get their feet in the door of the recreational cannabis industry. Lured by the promise of big profits, Republicans are becoming Entrepreneurs, lawyers, lobbyists, and consultants in the new emerging market that is expected to rake in millions. Republican support for cannabis has not come easy, but times are a changin’, and let’s be honest, Republicans love money. 

Take former state Rep. Mike Callton, a Nashville, Mich Republican for example. Only months after opposing the November ballot, Calton is now cashing in on the passing of the bill, calling himself the state’s “premier consultant” for legal cannabis, encouraging individual municipalities to embrace the industry and allow businesses within their borders. “Yes, I’m a Republican, but this is what people wanted,” Callton stated, in reference to the referendums that legalized medicinal marijuana in 2008 and recreational marijuana in 2018. “I work for voters; they don’t work for me.” 

While he opposed the recreational cannabis referendum this past year, he did support the bill that opened the door for medical marijuana businesses in 2016. In addition to providing consulting services Calton, whom has stated he would never “touch” marijuana, now assists businesses in getting licensing approval from Lansing.
One of the most profitable, and prominent roles that Republicans are playing is lobbying, due to the fact that Michigan does not require a “cool down” period between public service, and lobbying. Conservative lawmakers, staffers, and bureaucrats have wasted no time using their influence and experience to assist cannabis clients. 



Michigan’s New Cannabis Regulation Agency Announces Plans To Open Recreational Sales As Soon As This Fall

The new Cannabis regulation agency is wasting no time in getting the ball rolling for the recreational market. In a recent press release the agency announced that they plan to have the regulations hashed out by this summer, and hope to start accepting business applications as early as the fall. 

“It is our intention to have an initial set of industry ‘emergency rules’ in place this summer and to be prepared to begin accepting business applications this fall,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo in a statement. “Giving local municipalities, other state agencies, and potential business owners enough time to plan and prepare will allow for a successful rollout of the new adult-use marijuana law.”

All eyes are on the MRA as we embark on this new legal cannabis journey, and in contrast to the previous board’s inability to come to decisions in a timely manner, the wheels are already beginning to turn, which is fantastic news. “I’m confident that the MRA is prepared to implement a fair and effective regulatory structure that protects Michiganders while providing an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to thrive,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “Having a single state agency dedicated to administering all state laws relating to marijuana will allow Michigan to continue to lead the nation in this emerging industry.”


State Puts End To Caregiver Marijuana Supply For Provisioning Centers

Regulators in Michigan have been attempting to gain a handle on the state’s vast network of unlicensed cannabis growers for close to a year, however now with the launching of the new Marijuana Regulation Agency, things are finally being accomplished. Flexing their muscles they have already made a number of changes, and have only been active since the beginning of the month. 

One major change that they recently announced is to end the caregiver’s supply of marijuana to licensed provisioning centers across the state, effective immediately. The change follows a ruling that took place only days before by a Michigan Judge, which allowed for retailers awaiting licensing approval to continue stocking caregiver supplied products. The Judge, however, left the decision regarding licensed retailers to be allowed to continue using products from caregivers to the MRA, who immediately responded with an overwhelming “NO”.

Unlicensed cannabis growers/caregivers will still be permitted to sell their products to licensed growers and processors, however the purchasers must have the products tested before using the product in any manner. The decision is based on caregiver grown marijuana testing positive for things such as mold, E Coli, and Salmonella. Enforcing licensed provisioning centers to utilize licensed cultivator products reduces, and almost eliminates entirely, this concern as all licensed growers are required to have lab testing done on all products. 



State To Accelerate Licensing Hearings

The State’s past licensing board was well known for stalling licensing hearings, and avoiding any actual work. The new regulation agency is proving to be the exact opposite, after only being in power for two days, the agency has already started cleaning house. They will be accelerating the license hearings that have been stuck in limbo for months, and have announced that all license applications will either be approved or denied as of June 1st of this year. The announcement comes after a judge ruled that the agency could not shut down the nearly fifty unlicensed dispensaries in the state until after the license hearings have been completed. 

During his confirmation hearing in front of the State Senate, Andrew Brisbo, the director of the agency stated that “if an applicant failed to provide the documentation necessary to make a decision, we can deny them on that basis and those will all be done before June 1.” 

According to the MRA, approximately 77 applicants have paid the state’s $6,000 application fee, and provided some, but not all, of the documentation necessary to make a decision. Some of these are unlicensed dispensaries that are being allowed to continue to operate while awaiting their hearings. Additionally, nearly 80 more businesses (including growers, processors, and dispensaries) that were denied, and are currently appealing the denials, are not allowed to be shut down until after the appeal process is also completed.

“We all want to get to the same end point and that’s a fully regulated market,” Brisbo said, adding that he expects the agency to have draft rules ready by June for the impending recreational marijuana market that was approved by voters in November.

“And we will begin accepting applications three months later. We want to get (the recreational market) up and running as quickly as possible.”

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