Michigan Medical Marijuana
Michigan Prohibition 2.0
Jumping on board with the majority of the nation, many states are beginning to legalize Marijuana for medical and recreational use. Most recently nearly 56% of Michigan voters voted in favor of recreational use of Marijuana, passing legalization with a landslide. “Proposal 1” legalized the use of Marijuana for the entire state of Michigan for Adults 21 and over. As many Michiganders rejoice, Medical Marijuana Patients and Recreational users alike are hoping for an end to the prohibition era of Marijuana, but there seems to be another hiccup in the pathway to actually have safe access to the product.
With all the new regulations that come with the legalization of Marijuana it is hard to keep up. In the beginning of the new year, it seemed patients and recreational users alike found themselves searching for product, with very little relief in sight. The overabundance of dispensaries in Michigan came to a complete halt. Most dispensaries receiving cease and desist letters until they applied and were approved for licenses through the state. Problem is, very few dispensaries are getting approved. The state seems to be making the licensing process a grueling task for dispensary owners. With a new regulatory commission in effect, a new seed to sale type of Marijuana industry, not enough testing facilities,and not enough licensed producers or dispensaries, Michigan Patients and Recreational users are beginning to feel the effects.
In addition to the issues that already exist in the Michigan Marijuana Market, Ohio’s new Medical Marijuana program is also taking a toll on Michiganders who shop the dispensaries. Michigan dispensaries seem to be allowing Ohio Medical Marijuana Patients to come across state lines and purchase their product with not enough dispensaries or product to even supply those who live in state. Newly elected Governor Gretchen Whitmer who campaigned on behalf of Marijuana supporters must have received a lot of phone calls these past few weeks and now some things are going to change. According to LARA’s website (Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs), the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) announced dozens of dispensaries awaiting approval from the licensing board may temporarily open until March 31st, 2019. In addition to letting the dispensaries operate, the state will not take action against any dispensary who needs to purchase product from licensed caregivers to keep product on the shelves. But there are stipulations of course.
The dispensaries must have customers sign a consent before selling them any marijuana products purchase that were obtained from these caregivers, basically attesting to the fact that the product they are purchasing has not been tested by a licensed testing facility. The dispensaries may only purchase a certain amount each day and must enter all information in the state databases. They must also keep track of which caregivers they are obtaining it from and are required to make sure they are purchasing from a properly licensed caregiver, must obtain a state identification card and verify their caregiver card. Most importantly dispensaries must report any adverse reactions that may have occurred after anyone had ingested Marijuana products that were purchased from Michigan Caregivers. There are also stipulations on the licensed producers/growers before they can even sell the product to dispensaries as well. Such as they are required to upload all products to the state database, and are responsible for tagging the packaging in the proper way only after its been entered in the system. They must make sure they sell only product that has been tested exactly how the laws and rules state and also are responsible for reporting any adverse reactions to LARA. For more detailed information on these stipulations please visit LARA’s website at www.michigan.gov/lara.
So until March 31st, Michigan Marijuana users may find a little relief with the sacrifice of not knowing whether or not the products they are purchasing are safe, or where to purchase the products. Day to day new Marijuana shops are popping up and selling out just as fast as they can put the product on the shelves. Also causing Marijuana patients and recreational users to drive long distance in order to find relief. As we begin “Prohibition 2.0,” as I hear activists call it ; which includes taxation, and regulation, will we be again left in the dark wondering where we will get the Marijuana products that some of us desperately need ? With legalization most Michigan Marijuana supporters were hoping for safer easier access to the plant but instead are entering a phase where Marijuana is beginning to become harder and harder to find. Will Marijuana users be forced to begin finding Marijuana again on the streets? Did legalization do more harm than good when it comes to safe access? It seems all these answers will be unfolding in the coming months.