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Michigan News - July 2019

Cannabis Businesses Are In Short Supply In The Upper Peninsula 

The Upper Peninsula is the place to be if you want to get a proper cannabis education, Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie are among the few schools in the nation that offer cannabis degrees and education programs. However if you are looking for a licensed facility to purchase products from, there is only one option; Northern Specialty Health of Houghton. There are 7,081 card holders in the Upper Peninsula, and some of those patients have to drive upwards of 5 hours to get to the provisioning center. There were multiple unlicensed dispensaries operating around the U.P, however they have all shut down to await the State’s plans to regulate the new market.

Most of the larger municipalities in the U.P. have opted out of Cannabis businesses until the state releases the official rules and regulations surrounding the recreational market. “Marquette opted out, but we did that with a very clear understanding that we would, in all likelihood, be opting in once we had the rules and regulations from the state of Michigan,” Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse said. “From a leadership perspective, we tend to be conservative. But that doesn’t mean we’re against it. We’re just trying to be very careful. It took the state years to come up with licensing and rules for medical marijuana, so we decided to opt out of recreational simply because we didn’t want to go first until the state had their rules in place,” he said. “It comes down to what does the community want and who do we want to be. This is something that has far-reaching effects. It’s going to take a lot of thought for our council.”

Gov Whitmer Joins The Fight To Lift Cannabis Banking Restrictions

The Michigan Governor joined forces with 18 other Governors to call for legislation to remove legal banking restrictions and allow for financial institutions to bank with state licensed cannabis based businesses. As the law currently stands, financial institutions are prohibited from accepting cash, check or electronic payments from cannabis businesses under the Controlled Substances Act. which leaves 34 states with medical marijuana businesses, and 10 states with recreational marijuana businesses with little option as far as banking. The bipartisan group comprised of 19 Governors have recently called on congressional leadership to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE).

“Michiganders turned out in historic numbers in this last election to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and we must respect the will of the voters,” Whitmer said. “There is an inherent danger for businesses operating in an all-cash business because financial institutions are unable to accept the risks and penalties associated with providing service to this industry under current law. This letter sends a clear message to Congress that our states are looking for a real solution to a real problem, and we support them to get this done.”

New Warning Labels On Cannabis Products

Legislators in Michigan may vote to enforce a warning label pertaining to pregnancy and nursing mothers. While many Doctors discourage the use of cannabis during pregnancy, many women are opting to utilize cannabis to help relieve their morning sickness during pregnancy. The decision to require the warning labels comes after 2 studies showed a possible correlation to low birth weight and preterm labor, however there has just not been enough research done yet to say whether or not this is a valid concern. While the Michigan Marijuana community does not oppose the addition of the label, there is some concern regarding covering products with too many labels. Robin Schneider, the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, has stated that she would like to see one condensed label to include all of the concerns as “There’s just not a lot of room left (on packaging) for warning labels”.

First Provisioning Center In Muskegon Opens Its Doors 

Park Place Provisionary recently became the very first provisioning center on the west lakeshore to open its doors, thanks to a special city ordinance geared towards rehabbing old buildings.  The city is working with Marijuana businesses in an attempt to flip dilapidated buildings within the industrial part of town. Their goal is to clean up the area, while also spurring new business life. There were 20 buildings up for grabs, Park Place snagged one of the first, a former truck freight terminal that was built back in the early 1940’s. The goal is to turn the ugly boarded up buildings in that area into thriving businesses. Owner Greg Maki said he knew right away that this was the building he wanted, and has given it a total face lift including all new windows, a new parking lot, over 40 security cameras, and new paint and landscaping. There are approximately 5,500 medical card holders in Muskegon County, so there is definitely a market for it in the area. 

Record Turn Out For First Recreational Cannabis Cup In Clio

The first High Times Cannabis Cup following the passing of recreational cannabis laws here in Michigan was a hit. The number of attendees more than doubled from previous card holder only events as tens of thousands of people filled the Auto City Speedway in Clio. The sheer abundance of patrons flocking to the event created a few struggles. Parking especially was a significant issue, with some local residents charging $15 to patrons to park in their private yards over a half mile away from the venue. Lines at the gate in some cases exceeded well over 2 hours in wait time. The sheer number of people that turned out is an indication of the potential of the recreational market in Michigan. 

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