Recent Changes and Updates Regarding Medical Marijuana in Michigan (Last Updated – April. 2018)
Latest News & Articles
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the topics of medical marijuana and concealed pistol licenses (“CPL”). I get asked by folks all the time if they can obtain a medical marijuana patient card if they already have their CPL or vice versa. Like all issues in the area of medical marijuana law, the answer to this question is complicated by the fact that possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana is illegal under federal law under any circumstance.
I get asked by folks all the time whether they will be permitted to use medical marijuana while they are on probation or while they are on bond with a criminal matter pending. Many of these individuals have found that medical marijuana is effective in treating chronic pain as an alternative to other prescription drugs, such as opiates, with less harmful side effects. Others suffer from debilitating health conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or epilepsy, and medical cannabis eases their tremors and nausea. Veterans in particular have found medical cannabis to be effective treatment for their chronic pain and for post-traumatic stress disorder. Knowing whether a patient can continue to use their medicine while they are on bond or on probation makes a tremendous difference in crafting a defense strategy and evaluating plea offers.
Quick Summary –
On January 26, 2018, Governor Snyder signed into law Public Act 10 of 2018, which amends the Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”) for the better. The MMFLA authorizes commercial enterprise of medical marijuana in Michigan that builds off 2008’s voter-enacted ballot initiative that became the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. PA 10 of 2018 was introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives by Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township) as HB5144. After several hearings, the law passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support in both houses of the Michigan legislature.
This amendment to the MMFLA clears up a number of issues that members of the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Michigan have been requesting legislative guidance on to clean up some unintended inefficiencies in the MMFLA. Here are some highlights of the changes:…
December 19th, 2017 –
October 13th, 2017 – Cannabis Confusion? Referendum Puts Lansing’s Marijuana Ordinance on Hold
Medical marijuana laws in Michigan have a tendency to change rapidly. For example, it looked like Lansing might be ready to accept applications for medical marijuana facilities, but now the process has been placed on hold. If you’re among those confused by the state of medical marijuana law in Lansing, you’re not alone. Here’s where we stand now.
In September 2017, Lansing City Council passed an ordinance to allow medical marihuana facilities under Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”). An ordinance is specifically required for a municipality to “opt into” the MMFLA and indicate which type of facilities and how many are authorized to operate in the jurisdiction. In light of Lansing’s current situation with more than 70 dispensaries operating in the City, the ordinance passed by City Council that capped the number of dispensaries at 25 was met with mixed reviews.
Continue Reading – Cannabis Confusion? Referendum Puts Lansing’s Marijuana Ordinance on Hold
October 6th, 2017 –
LANSING — A group called Let Lansing Vote filed petitions Friday afternoon seeking a referendum on the city’s a new medical marijuana ordinance.
The ordinance for commercial properties was approved by City Council last month and was supposed to go into effect on Saturday. If the group turned in enough signatures, either the council must repeal the ordinance or send it to city voters, which would not happen until 2018.
City Clerk Chris Swope has 15 calendar days to review the petitions and determine if the signatures and forms are “valid and proper.”
The group needs at least 4,600 valid signatures, Swope said.
Read more here – Petition blocks marijuana ordinance, application submissions
After multiple years of debate and significant pressure from the community, on September 7, 2017, Lansing City Council adopted an ordinance by a 5-3 vote to “opt into” Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (commonly referred to as the “MMFLA”). The licensing process created by the MMFLA requires an applicant to receive approval from both the local and state level. The state will begin accepting applications for licenses on December 15, 2017.
Under the MMFLA, a local city, township, or village must enact an ordinance to “opt into” the MMFLA before any businesses may legally operate in the municipality under the Act.
Now that Lansing has adopted an ordinance, businesses looking to stake their claim in Michigan’s medical marijuana market can consider opening their business in Lansing.
Lansing’s ordinance creates a very detailed and complex regulatory scheme to navigate to obtain a license.
Read more about it here in our latest blog post – 5 Things to Know About Lansing’s Medical Marijuana Ordinance
A Summary of Medical Marijuana in Michigan 
- There are 2 principle pieces of legislation that address medical marijuana in Michigan: 2008’s Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (commonly known as the “MMMA”) and 2016’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (commonly known as the “MMFLA”)
- Both the MMMA and MMFLA will continue to operate side by side
- The MMMA establishes a caregiver/patient model for medical marihuana and provides legal protections for patients and caregivers engaged in the medical use of marijuana. These protections will continue to be important under the MMFLA.
- The MMMA does not permit dispensaries or any type of real commercially viable business activity. A caregiver can have at most 5 patients, so there is no real opportunity for business growth.
- The MMFLA was enacted to creating a licensing system for 5 categories of medical marihuana facilities to allow patients to have broader access to medical marijuana.
- The 5 different categories of medical marijuana facilities that will be licensed are: (1) Growers, (2) Processors, (3) Secured Transporters, (4) Safety Compliance Facilities, and (5) Provisioning Centers
- Growers will be authorized to grow marijuana
- Processors will be authorized to process marijuana into different finished products, such as edibles, oils, tinctures, etc.
- Secured Transporters are the only legally authorized method of transporting marijuana and marijuana products between facilities
- Safety Compliance Facilities are testing laboratories that will test for THC content, presence of contaminants, mold, pesticides, etc.
- Provisioning Centers are dispensaries/retail stores
- The MMFLA is an “opt-in” statute for local municipalities. What this means is that a local municipality will have to pass an ordinance authorizing whether, what type, and how many medical marijuana facilities may be located within the jurisdiction. Local municipalities have the authority to enact restrictions on where these facilities may be located pursuant to zoning, etc., and also have some authority as to licensing considerations.
- The application process for a license under the MMFLA really occurs at 2 different levels: (1) the local municipal level and (2) at LARA (state level). An applicant must have approval by both levels to obtain a license.
- Applications submitted to LARA will be considered by the medical marihuana licensing board, which is comprised of 5 members appointed by the governor. This is the board that has generated controversy in the news. The board’s role is to review and decide on applications, while LARA will actually promulgate the rules that will govern how licenses will be issued and how facilities must be operated.
- LARA will begin to accept applications for licenses on Dec. 15, 2017 and expects to be in a position to actually issue licenses sometime in the Q1 2018.
Grewal Law will continue to follow these important changes to medical marijuana laws in Michigan. Stay tuned to this page for updates throughout 2017.
If you are a patient or a dispensary who is currently facing legal action regarding the MMMA please call us for a no-obligation quote in your case at 800-331-9871.