The Michigan medical cannabis market should be further along than it is, according to the state’s Governor. Dissatisfied with the progress made in licensing medical cannabis businesses in the state, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed an executive order to disassemble the board responsible for the decision making process.
“This executive order will eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients,” Whitmer said.
The board, made up of volunteers, was not able to approve or deny medical marijuana business license applications within a reasonable time frame, so Gov. Whitmer took it upon herself to make a change. Gov. Whitmer’s executive order is supported by leaders in the state Legislature as well as former director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Shelly Edgerton.
“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 said. “With this executive order, the licensing process will be more efficient and allow more applicants into the space.”
The volunteer board was only able to approve 121 medical cannabis businesses since they began considering applications in July. Of the 121, only 105 businesses have paid their fees to be able to operate legally.
Only the following number of medical marijuana businesses have been fully approved to operate in Michigan:
- 31 Cultivators
- 54 Dispensaries
- 11 Processors
- 4 Testing labs
- 5 Transporters
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency
To replace the board of volunteers, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency was created. A new branch within the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency will be responsible for awarding licenses to medical cannabis businesses as of April 30. Once the regulations are established for the recreational market, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency will license recreational businesses as well.
“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,” said Whitmer.
Michigan voters approved a ballot measure legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in November 2018. Recreational sales are not expected to begin until 2020 because the state needs to establish a framework for licensing and regulations first.
Now that the recreational use and possession of cannabis is legal in Michigan, creative cannaprepreneurs are finding ways to fill the gap in the market. Residents in some areas can now order a t-shirt or a muffin and juice to receive a free “gift of weed” with their purchase.
On December 6, 2018, the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal in The Wolverine State. Any person 21 years of age or older is now able to use and possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis. Much like the situation in other states immediately following the implementation of a legalization amendment, the recreational retail shops have not opened doors yet because no licenses have been issued. The medical marijuana shops that are already operating are only permitted to sell to patients with a valid, state-issued registration card.
Where can recreational users find cannabis?
At this time, the only clear way under the new law for recreational users to obtain marijuana is by growing it themselves. Adults are permitted to cultivate up to 12 plants at home, but nothing growing just since legalization would be mature or ready to use yet.
Without recreational dispensaries for consumers to purchase products, at least a couple of people are operating businesses within the legal grey-area of the law. Like in other legal states, one adult is permitted to give another of-age-adult up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana as a gift in Michigan. This means that in order for it to be legal, there cannot be an exchange of money for marijuana. The law does not specifically state that a person cannot sell something else, like a t-shirt or snacks, and include a free gift of marijuana.
How do I order my free marijuana gift?
One of the businesses doing this in Detroit, On High Road, is offering a free gift of marijuana flower with the purchase of a muffin and juice for $55. If you spend $75 on cookies and milk, you get a one gram vape cartridge for free, as a gift. Another company, CannaMich, will sell customers a t-shirt for between $80-$340. The free marijuana gift you receive will depend on whether you order a “flower shirt,” a “concentrate shirt,” or a “cartridge shirt”.
For customers, the process is simple. You place your order online, and arrange either a delivery or pickup depending on the company from which you order. Both of these companies require proof of age.
Major late contributions are flowing into the coffers of Michigan and Missouri political action committees that have been set up to support or oppose marijuana ballot initiatives in those states, Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis of campaign finance data shows.
In Michigan, the two largest marijuana initiative committees have seen a quarter-million dollars in contributions in just the last three days since quarter three figures were filed on Friday. The pro-legalization Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol officially reported a $25,000 donation that had been announced last week by the Drug Policy Alliance. Washington, D.C.-based New Approach PAC donated an additional $58,650 to the committee over the weekend, bringing their October contributions to over $300,000.
Meanwhile, the largest committee working against the initiative, Healthy and Productive Michigan, is reporting a sizable new contribution of $75,000 from national prohibition organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which has already provided over $1 million in cash and in-kind services to the effort. The prohibitionist committee also reported $100,000 from Dow Chemical Corporation.
DTE Energy executives continued to weigh in against the initiative, with David Meador, vice chairman of DTE Energy, and David Ruud, president of DTE Power & Industrial, each giving $2,500 to the anti-legalization committee. The group had already reported a total of $70,000 in donations from DTE Energy Chairman Gerard Anderson, company President and COO Jerry Norcia, DTE Electric President Trevor Lauer and DTE Gas President Mark Stiers.
In total, Healthy and Productive Michigan has racked up $310,000 in late contributions since October 20, while the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has brought in $151,150. For each committee, these new donations in the last nine days equal about one-third of their total cash previously raised in all of quarter three (August 20 – October 20).
In Missouri, physician Bradley Bradshaw continues to pour money in the Find the Cures PAC in support of Amendment 3. For October, since filing quarter three reports, Find the Cures reports $343,000 in cash contributions from Bradshaw. He had contributed $7,500 in cash in quarter three, and also provided $186,121 in loans. Find the Cures is also getting late support from legal firms, with five outfits contributing $45,000 in October.
Missourians For Patient Care, which supports Proposition C, has reported $105,289 in contributions in several “48 Hour Reports of Contribution Received Over $5,000” in October, but the source of the largest of those contributions is not specified, and they have not yet filed a report due by the end of Monday, eight days before the election.
A committee set up to combat Bradshaw’s Measure 3, Patients Against Bradshaw Amendment Formally Known As Find The Cures Political Action Committee, reported only $757 in contributions in a filing made on Monday.
Additional reports are due in Missouri by the close of business on Monday, and we will provide updates on those as they are filed.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
More Money Flows To Michigan And Missouri Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns
Since being busted for possession at her home this year, 80-year-old Michigan medical marijuana patient Delores Saltzman has become a cannabis hero and a rallying point for the legalization campaign in her state. And now, she’s the subject of a short documentary film.
For “Mrs. Saltzman Goes to Jail: The True Story of a Michigan Outlaw,” Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen pays a visit to Saltzman at her home in Lake George, a small resort town, and takes viewers through the senior citizen’s brief ordeal with local police in June.
While Saltzman doesn’t fit the profile of a typical marijuana arrest—she is white, she is a woman and she is an octogenarian—the story of her bust over a non-violent possession offense is “not unlike a whole lot of other stories,” and it has turned her into an avowed supporter for Proposal 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan and end petty busts like hers.
Saltzman uses cannabis to deal with the pain that arthritis causes “throughout” her body. On June 3, she was “relaxing and having a joint” at her home when a sheriff’s deputy knocked on the door.
The deputy smelled cannabis and asked Saltzman if it was hers. When she answered in the affirmative—and it was determined that her medical marijuana recommendation from the state had lapsed—she was handcuffed and taken to jail.
Sleeping overnight in a cold cement-floored cell aggravated her arthritis, and it took Saltzman “two months to get over the cold.”
“Just because someone’s wrong doesn’t mean you have to torture them,” she says on camera. “That’s torture.”
Cohen also managed to get Sheriff John Wilson to sit for an on-camera interview. Wilson, for his part, was adamant in maintaining that his officer “did nothing wrong.”
“I mean, morally in this country, we don’t want to put this old lady in jail,” Wilson says. “But if the officer doesn’t enforce the law with her and the 25-year-old gets in trouble for it—that’s not good fairness across the board.”
In Michigan, black people are 3.3 times more likely to be arrested than white people for marijuana possession offenses, according to an ACLU review.
According to a poll released before Saltzman became marijuana-famous, forty-eight percent of Michigan voters said they favored full legalization. Support has only grown since then, with 55 percent of voters telling pollsters in September that they want full legalization.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Watch: 80-Year Old Michigan Marijuana Patient Recounts Possession Arrest In New Documentary