On September 21, 2016, the Legislature and Governor gave some much needed guidance to medical marijuana caregivers and patients in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder signed the “Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act” into law. The Act will become effective December 20, 2016. The Licensing Act does exactly what its name suggests: establish a statewide licensing procedure for medical marijuana facilities. The licensing procedure goes through the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department, commonly known as “LARA.” The law provides for different types of licenses associated with the medical marijuana industry, including: marihuana grower, processor, secure transporter, provisioning center, and safety compliance facility. Valid license-holders are exempt from criminal prosecution or civil liabilities as long as they operating within the scope of their license. The scope of their license will likely be determined by LARA. LARA will also be coming out with new rules associated with the implementation of the licensing scheme. There will be a fee to apply for a license along with an annual renewal fee. In addition, provisioning centers are required to pay a tax on their retail gross income.
The new legislation also enacted the “Marihuana Tracking Act.” This Act requires LARA to establish an internet system to monitor integrated tracking, inventory, and verification. This system will be statewide and confidential.
The new laws also included a substantial update to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act that will greatly benefit medical marijuana patients and caregivers. The law now prohibits qualified registered patients or registered primary caregivers from being penalized for manufacturing products that are marihuana-infused, such as edible products. However, it is very clear that both the patient and caregiver must be registered and prohibits giving infused marihuana products to anyone that is not registered. This is a great step forward for the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers.