Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency Announces Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workgroup

MICHIGAN:  The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) is facilitating a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup (DEIW) to continue to advance the proposals of the ad hoc Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup, to empower stakeholders to take ownership in the programs that directly impact their communities, and to continue to guide the Agency on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This workgroup is to be held on the last Friday of every month.  Term length will not exceed 24 months.  The terms of the members will be staggered with new members accepted every 8 months.

Individuals interested in participating in the workgroup must send an email to MRA-SocialEquity@michigan.gov with WORKGROUP in the subject line – the body of the email must contain the following information:

  • Your name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Occupation
  • Job title
  • The name of the employer or organization that you are affiliated with
  • A brief explanation (no more than 250 words) describing what diversity, equity, and inclusion means to you and the perspective you believe you can bring to this group. Please do not include attachments with your email

The Agency will consider all email requests that meet these requirements, and any additional relevant information when establishing the workgroup. Requests and inquiries made via telephone or to other Agency contacts may not be accepted.

The deadline to email your request to participate in the workgroup is Friday, January 29, 2021 at 5:00 PM. Selections for the workgroup will be announced by Friday, February 12, 2021. If you are chosen for a workgroup, you will be notified directly by the Agency.

Cannabis Caucus Of Michigan’s Democratic Party Releases List Of Candidate Endorsements

2020’s general election is the most significant election in modern American history, and cannabis law reform is a significant part of every election in America- and in Michigan.”

— Rick Thompson, Elections Committee Chair

MICHIGAN:   Pro-cannabis candidates for election have been identified and endorsed by the Michigan Democratic Party’s Cannabis Caucus. The Caucus has endorsed contestants in both national and in-state contests being decided at the General Election on November 3rd.

The Caucus endorses Joe Biden as President and recommends that the state voters return Gary Peters to the US Senate. The full list of endorsements is included below incorporates candidates for select national and state House races; county prosecutors and sheriffs; and local offices. This is not an exhaustive list, as the corona virus and a lack of statewide cannabis ballot proposal has kept cannabis off the minds of many who are running for political office.

The list of endorsements includes:

President
Joe Biden

US Congress
Gary Peters, Senate

US House of Representatives
Dan Kildee 5th District
Elissa Slotkin 8th District
Andy Levin 9th District
Haley Stevens 11th District
Debbie Dingell 12th District
Rashida Talib 13th District
Brenda Lawrence 14th District

Michigan House of Representatives:
Tenisha Yancey District 1
Joseph Tate District 2
Shri Thanendar District 3
Abraham Aiyash District 4
Cynthia Johnson District 5
Tyrone Carter District 6
Helena Scott District 7
Stephanie Young District 8
Karen Whitsett District 9
Abdullah Hammoud District 15
Darrin Cammilleri District 21
Cynthia Neeley District 34
Julia Pulver District 39
Mari Manoogian District 40
Nicole Breadon District 43
John Cherry District 49
Yousef Rabhi District 53
Nancy Smith District 65
Lily Cheng-Schulting District 72
Rachel Hood District 76

County Level Endorsements
Krystle DuPree, Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education
Julie Dye, Cass County Commissioner
Richard Clement, Detroit Public Schools Community District
Carol A Siemon, Ingham County Prosecutor
Val C. Toops, Jackson County Sheriff
Karen McDonald, Oakland County Prosecutor
Vincent Gregory, Oakland County Sheriff
Nick Roumel, Washtenaw Circuit Judge
Eli Savit, Washtenaw County Prosecutor

The Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party is Michigan’s partisan cannabis advocacy group and features Mike McCurdy as Chairman and Rick Thompson as Elections Committee Chair. The group has a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MICannaCaucus/

USDA Approves Michigan’s Industrial Hemp State Plan

MICHIGAN:  The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) received federal approval of the state’s Industrial Hemp Plan. This plan establishes regulatory requirements for cultivating industrial hemp and gives MDARD primary oversight of industrial hemp production in Michigan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval means Michigan’s plan complies with the 2018 Farm Bill requirements and USDA’s Interim Final Rule.

In April 2019, MDARD established the state’s first Industrial Hemp Ag Pilot Program so farmers, processors, and state colleges and universities could grow, handle, process, and research industrial hemp. The pilot program continued into the 2020 growing season, with 631 growers and 517 processor-handlers registered and/or licensed to grow, process and market industrial hemp.

“The success of the pilot program has paved the way for cultivation and expansion of Michigan’s new crop,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “The approval of the state plan is a testament to the hard work our team has put in over the last 22 months developing the regulatory framework for growers to diversify their operations.”

Senator Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, sponsored the Industrial Hemp Growers Act (Senate Bill 850), to align Michigan’s Industrial Hemp laws with USDA’s Interim Final Rule. Public Act 137 of 2020 enabled Michigan to submit the state plan for approval and keeps Michigan farmers compliant with federal requirements to grow industrial hemp.

“Michigan’s pilot program for industrial hemp has been a great success,” said Lauwers. “There is increasing interest in this crop in a wide variety of sectors. Michigan farmers will benefit greatly from being able to grow hemp, under the 2018 Farm Bill and Michigan’s USDA approved Hemp Growers Program.”

Starting December 1, 2020, MDARD will implement the state hemp plan in tandem with the beginning of the 2021 grower registration cycle. There are some key changes that growers need to be aware of before the December 1 effective date:

  • Growers will no longer be able to collect their own samples for submission to MDARD’s laboratory for THC analysis. Instead, growers will be required to contact the department to schedule an appointment for MDARD staff to collect samples.
  • Growers are required to provide a legal description of the property that they intend to grow hemp on. This is in addition to the already required address, GPS coordinates, acreage, and maps of their growing area(s). Growers will also be required to submit their hemp acreage directly to USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
  • The requirement for growers to harvest their compliant hemp within 15 days of receiving their analysis results will continue in the 2021 growing season.
  • The state plan includes specific methods of destroying industrial hemp determined to be non-compliant and growers must follow the specific notification requirements before destruction.
  • Grower registration applicants must continue to submit a criminal history report. The report is required to include any felony drug convictions occurring outside of Michigan which will require growers to use an FBI background check tool rather than the previous ICHAT tool.

MDARD will send out a series of email updates to hemp growers throughout November on the changes. Additional information about the Michigan industrial hemp program is also available at Michigan.gov/IndustrialHemp. Anyone interested in hemp program updates can self-register here.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency Social Equity Program Announces October Education and Outreach Session

MICHIGAN: The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has announced the date, time, and location for its October Education and Outreach Session.

Date:     Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Time:    10:00 AM
Place:   Zoom

While attendance is free, space is limited. Interested participants need to register for  the Education and Outreach Session at the following website:

On November 1, 2019, the MRA began accepting applications for licensure under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), for a marijuana retailer, marijuana processor, class B marijuana grower, class C marijuana grower, or marijuana secure transporter, from persons holding a state operating license pursuant to the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA).

On October 6, 2020, the MRA issued a bulletin announcing that on March 1, 2021, applications will then be accepted from any applicant for the following adult-use licenses:

  • marijuana retailer
  • marijuana processor
  • class B marijuana grower
  • class C marijuana grower
  • marijuana secure transporter

The Education and Outreach Session will highlight all the adult-use licenses that will be available to any applicant beginning on March 1, 2021. The MRA Enforcement Section will also be in attendance to provide information on the required inspections of marijuana establishments.

Representatives from the MRA’s social equity team and Enforcement Section will be holding a question and answer session following their presentations.

The Zoom link to attend the October Education and Outreach event will be sent to participants who register.

Michigan Medical Marijuana Registry Card Application Fee Reduced, Other Fees Eliminated

Screenshot 2019-10-30 09.48.41MICHIGAN: The Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced today that new administrative rules for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) are now in effect. The new rules lowered the registry card application fee by 33 percent while eliminating fees associated with processing updates or replacing marijuana registry cards.

“Our team has worked hard over the last year to streamline the process for Michigan’s medical marijuana cardholders,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “Not only have we lowered the costs, but we’ve made it significantly easier for patients to apply for – and receive – their registry cards.”

The MMMA was passed by Michigan voters in 2008 and authorizes the medical use of marijuana for qualifying patients and provides for the issuance of registry identification cards to qualifying patients and their caregivers, if applicable.

Highlights of the new changes are as follows:

  • The patient application fee (for a two-year card) has been reduced from $60.00 to $40.00.
  • The $25.00 caregiver criminal background check processing fee has been eliminated.
  • The $10.00 fee has been eliminated for the following services:
    •  Update the name or address on a registry card
    • Add or remove a caregiver
    • Request a replacement card
  • The renewal period for patients has increased from 60 to 90 days.
  • A provision is now in effect that authorizes patients to change the person designated to be in possession of the plants.
  • Email is now included as a method by which the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) may contact a patient, caregiver, or physician.

The new rule changes come shortly after the MRA expanded the MMMP online processes to allow marijuana patients in Michigan who apply for their marijuana registry card online to use their approval email as a temporary substitute for a valid registry card in order to obtain their medication the same day they are approved.

The email that patients receive after an approved online application serves as a temporary substitute for a valid registry card. This approval email is valid until patients receive their card in the mail or for up to 15 days from the date of the approval email.

As a result, patients do not have to wait to receive their registry cards in the mail and will be able to purchase or obtain medication the same day they are approved. A valid driver’s license or government-issued identification card with a photographic image is also required to purchase marijuana.

To utilize this online service please visit www.michigan.gov/mmp and note the following:

  • A patient’s certifying physician must have an online account with the MMMP
  • A patient must register for an online account
  • The patient must submit an online application

If you have questions about the temporary card or about the online application process, please call the Marijuana Regulatory Agency MMMP Division at 517-284-6400.

Cresco Labs Receives Approval To Enter The Michigan Market

ILLINOIS:  Cresco Labs Inc., one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today announced that it has completed the most comprehensive portion of Michigan’s application process, being pre-qualified for a cultivation and processing license by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. The pre-qualification represents the authorization of the entity to move forward with the licensing process for its intended facilities.

“We continue to execute well on our expansion strategy and leverage our professional, proven approach to win access to new markets,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder Charlie Bachtell. “Entering Michigan will add another large market opportunity to our growing footprint and increase our total addressable consumer base to more than 150 million people. Michigan is one of the largest medical cannabis markets in the country with an estimated patient population of nearly 300,000 patients and is steadily moving towards implementation of an adult-use program. Pre-qualification is the most significant regulatory hurdle in the Michigan licensing process. We expect to replicate the process that has enabled us to quickly and efficiently get operational in other markets and begin making our full suite of brands available to patients wanting to experience the positive medicinal benefits of cannabis.”

Cresco Labs has applied for a cultivation and processing facility to be located in a former 100,000+ square foot factory in Marshall, Michigan. The Company has been granted conditional local approval to build and operate the facility pending final approval of its state facility license application.

Michigan Market:

Michigan is the 10th largest state in the country with a population of nearly 10 million people and more nearly 300,000 registered patients in the state’s medical cannabis program. According to Arcview Market Research/BDS Analytics, the total cannabis market in Michigan – including both medical spending and future legalized adult-use spending – is projected to increase to nearly $1.4 billion by 2022 from $869 million in 2018.

Cresco Labs Footprint:

Upon the receipt of licensure in Michigan and the closing of the Company’s pending acquisition in Florida, Cresco Labs will have 15 production facilities, 21 operational retail dispensaries and licenses to operate a total of 51 retail dispensaries across 11 states – Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan with New York, Maryland and Massachusetts pending regulatory approval. The Company’s products are currently on the shelves of over 250 dispensaries. Cresco Labs will have operations in seven of the ten most populated states in the country with legalized cannabis programs totaling more than 150 million residents, which is nearly 70% of the estimated total addressable US cannabis market

Study: Majority Of Medical Cannabis Patients Are Seeking Pain Relief

MICHIGAN: Most US patients registered to access medical cannabis cite chronic pain as their primary qualifying condition, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor reviewed patient registration data from the majority of states that provide medical cannabis access. (Some states, notably California and Maine, possess voluntary registries and therefore do not compile patient profile data.)

They reported that in 2016, chronic pain was the most common qualifying condition reported by patients (65 percent). They added, “Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 85 percent had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy,” as defined by the 2017 report published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The authors of that report concluded that there exists conclusive or substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and spasticity.

Separate studies indicate that legal cannabis access is typically associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse. Studies have also identified a reduction in the prevalence of opioid-related mortality following statewide marijuana access.

Authors concluded: “[O]ur data show that the number of medical cannabis patients has risen dramatically over time as more states have legalized medical cannabis. … [W]e believe not only that it is inappropriate for cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, but also that state and federal policy makers should begin evaluating evidence-based ways for safely integrating cannabis research and products into the health care system.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Qualifying conditions of medical cannabis license holders in the United States,” appears in Health Affairs. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

Michigan: Marijuana Possession Becomes Legal Next Week

MJLegalMICHIGAN: Key provisions of the state’s voter-initiated marijuana measure will take effect next week. Members of the Board of State Canvassers certified the midterm election results on November 26, and Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act becomes law on Thursday, December 6.

Provisions specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis will take immediate effect. Those over the age of 21 may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates in a private residence. Adults may also legally cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in private, and possess the harvest (up to ten ounces) of those plants. Public use of cannabis will remain a violation of law.

Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has up to 12 months to begin accepting applications from those seeking to operate licensed cannabis businesses.

Michigan is the tenth state to regulate the adult use of marijuana, and it is the ninth to do so via voter initiative.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit Michigan NORML.

Michigan: Adult Use Legalization Measure Certified For November’s Ballot

MICHIGAN: Election officials have confirmed that proponents of a statewide ballot measure, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, have gathered a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to place it on the electoral ballot this November.

Proponents of the voter-initiated measure, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, submitted more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify it for the November 2018 ballot. The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to grow and possess personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

According to statewide polling commissioned by Michigan NORML, which is a member of the Coalition, 61 percent of voters say that they intend to vote yes on the measure.

Voters in other states will also be deciding on marijuana-related ballot questions later this year. Oklahomans will decide in June on State Question 788, which permits qualified patients to access and cultivate marijuana for therapeutic purposes. Utah voters are also expected to decide on a narrower medicalization measure in November, though officials have yet to officially certify that measure for the ballot. Proponents of a medical marijuana measure in Missouri have surpassed the number of signatures required to place it on the November ballot, well ahead of the state’s May 6 deadline. In South Dakota, officials have confirmed that proponents of a 2018 medical use initiative failed to gather the necessary number of signatures to qualify for November’s ballot.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Be Brave for Cannabis Campaign Ramps Up for 4/20

MICHIGAN: A group of pro-cannabis businesses is urging people to be brave and stand up for cannabis on April 19, 2018 in a social media campaign that will take place between 9 am and noon.
Be Brave for Cannabis campaign is focused on bringing attention to issues surrounding cannabis:
  • Helping educate the public with anecdotal stories, science, usage facts and data about the benefits of cannabis use for health and personal well-being.
  • Encouraging people to share their own stories about cannabis and how it has improved their health or the health of people they love.
  • Encouraging people who don’t use cannabis, but support the freedom of choice regarding cannabis, to speak up and make their views public.
Jamie Cooper, owner of CannaBiz Connection, expects that on the day before the 4/20 cannabis “holiday” that people will start talking about the plant and sharing their stories online about how cannabis has helped them. “4/20 is much more than a stoner day—it’s about ending prohibition and giving people a safe space to talk about how their lives have been improved with cannabis,” she said. “Cannabis is a powerful medicine that has merit for patients with cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, digestive disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD and a variety of other diseases. Patients are often fearful to speak out about their use of the plant and our goal is to help ease that experience. Once people are able to talk about their use—they often find community and support,” Cooper said.
“Michigan and many other states are in a time of transition with cannabis—as legislators and local government officials make decisions regarding cannabis regulation, we need to make sure that the voice of people who have medical marijuana in their lives is heard,” said Roberta King, co-owner of Canna Communication.