For the first time since voters said “yes” to medical marijuana in 2008, the state will be legalized freestanding shops where the product can be sold, under legislation Gov. Rick SNYDER signed into law Sept. 21.
A five-tier regulatory structure will now co-exist with the current distribution model, in which a caregiver can grow plants for him or herself and five others.
The bills, HB 4209, HB 4210 and HB 4827, create a license structure for the growing, testing, processing and transporting of medical marijuana, as well as legalize medical marijuana in non-smokable forms.
Those with any of the five state licenses, however, will not be allowed to a license for any of the other four tiers. A grower can’t sell the marijuana to a customer, just as a transporter can’t test or process the product.
“This new law will help Michiganders of all ages and with varying medical conditions access safe products to relieve their suffering,” Snyder said in a statement. “We can finally implement a solid framework that gives patients a safe source from which to purchase and utilize medical marijuana.”
The bills, sponsored by Rep. Mike CALLTON (R-Nashville), Rep. Lisa LYONS (R-Alto) and Rep. Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.), also allow “medibles,” oils, chocolates and other products that contain the active ingredients for marijuana for those who don’t want to or can’t smoke it.
The most common example of a beneficiary of this product is a child who suffers chronic epileptic seizures.
“We’ve spent over five long years advocating for safe access to all forms of medical cannabis and are overwhelmed with gratitude today,” said Robin Schneider, the legislative policy director and patient advocate for the National Patients Rights Association. “We’ve overcome so much adversity, found middle ground with law enforcement and finally settled on common sense reforms.”
Willie ROCHON, vice president and spokesperson for the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, called the bills’ signage a “watershed moment in the years-long endeavor to create a framework to license and regulate the medical marijuana industry in the state and expand access to non-smokable forms of medical marijuana for patients.”
This story presented as part of a partnership between Healthcare Michigan and MIRS, a Lansing-based news and information service.