Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan signed an government order on Friday that abolishes the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board and creates a single state company to manage each medical and leisure hashish. Whitmer’s order, which is scheduled to enter impact on April 30, establishes the Marijuana Regulatory Agency as an element of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The governor stated in a press release on Friday that the transfer will streamline the issuing of licenses for hashish growers, processors, and dispensaries.
“This executive order will eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients,” Whitmer stated. “All elements of this agency have been designed to serve and better protect Michigan residents, and I’m eager to have a unified effort across state departments to make sure this process runs effectively and efficiently.”
Whitmer stated that combining the board with the regulatory construction for leisure hashish, which was legalized by Michigan voters final November, would finish delays in licensing from the board.
“To avoid licensing delays and to better coordinate varying sources of authority for the enforcement of state law, the administration of state laws relating to marijuana can more effectively and efficiently be administered by a dedicated state agency,” she stated in her government order.
Board Slow to Issue Licenses
Since the board started reviewing purposes final July, it has permitted solely 121 licenses. Of these, 31 growers, 11 processors, 5 transporters, 4 testing amenities, and 54 dispensaries have paid their license charges and begun operations. Shelly Edgerton, the previous director of LARA who now works as an lawyer and registered lobbyist, stated the chief order was a “step in the right direction” for the regulation of the state’s hashish business.
“The volunteer Board took on a monumental lift to get this program going, but in the short time frame the program has been running, we have not seen the expected volume of licensees entering the market,” Edgerton stated. “With this executive order, the licensing process will be more efficient and allow more applicants into the space.”
Don Bailey, a member of the licensing board and a former narcotics officer with the Michigan State Police, stated that Whitmer’s order is the results of lobbying by the hashish business.
“There’s been such pressure applied by the marijuana lobby to rush to get some of these applications approved, there’s been a lack of investigation into what’s been going on behind the scenes, who’s really applying, are they bad actors or not,” stated Bailey.
Bailey was particularly robust on candidates, notably those that had served as registered caregivers for medical hashish sufferers, believing that many had illegally profited from the as much as 72 crops they have been permitted to develop for as much as 5 medical marijuana cardholders. Bailey stated that the knowledge being collected for hashish enterprise licenses shouldn’t be being verified. In one occasion, he stated, an applicant submitted a photograph of $100,000 in money in lieu of a monetary assertion from a financial institution.
“Data collection without data analysis is nothing, and that’s where we’re at,” stated Bailey.
Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, stated that abolishing the licensing board ought to enhance the state of affairs for the state’s medical marijuana sufferers.
“The challenges and the delays in getting the medical marijuana system up and running have been numerous and have been primarily because of inconsistency from the board,” he stated.
Hovey stated that the board is “an unnecessary layer of government that has been a hindrance to getting a successful legal, regulated market up and running.”
Michigan’s state legislature has the facility to veto Whitmer’s government order, though that seems unlikely. Before issuing the order, the governor consulted with leaders of the House and Senate and knowledgeable them of her plans. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey stated he “appreciates the governor’s willingness to discuss the issue” and his indicated his help for the modifications.