The Michigan Legislature recently passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act ( MMFLA), designed to allow the sale of medical cannabis by licensed retail stores to any patient or caregiver with identification issued pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA).
Michigan law firms have been helping clients obtain and maintain compliance in seven valuable new Michigan state license categories: Provisioning Center (retail to patients/caregivers); 1,500-Plant Grower; 1,000-Plant Grower; 500-Plant Grower; Processor; Secure Transporter; and Safety Compliance Facility.
The MMFLA requires that municipalities amend their ordinances for these licenses to be permitted. Once they do, they may zone and limit the number or type of licenses allowed. Zoning for grower licenses must be either agricultural or industrial. None of the tax revenue will go to municipalities who do not grant licenses. The more licenses granted by a municipality, the more tax revenue will be provided to the municipality from the pot of one-quarter of the total 3% tax collected at the retail sale statewide.
The Michigan Supreme Court in Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming (2013) ruled that a local ordinance cannot prohibit or penalize anything permitted in a state statute, such as the MMMA. However, some municipalities ignore this case and continue to penalize caregivers. It has become very apparent that full legalization for adult use is the only way to protect patients.
Edibles and Extracts
A retroactive curative amendment to the MMMA was also passed and includes: (a) relegalizing extracts and medibles so 2.5 ounces of extracts per patient may be possessed; (b) adding a definition of “marihuana-infused product,” not intended for smoke inhalation; and (c) the following weight translation tables, whereby one ounce shall be equivalent to:
– 16 ounces of marihuana-infused product in a solid form.
– 7 grams of marihuana-infused product in a gaseous form.
– 36 ounces of marihuana-infused product in a liquid form.
What Happened to MILegalize 2016
The state of Michigan disenfranchised voters in 2016 by refusing to count signatures and put on the ballot the 2016 MILegalize initiative for adult use of cannabis and full production of industrial hemp.
Over 354,000 people signed the petition — about 100,000 signatures more than the 252,000 required by law. However, the courts determined that at least 200,000 had been collected prior to 180 days before submission as the law requires.
MILegalize filed a complaint in state court. Petition signers and circulators filed different causes of action in federal court. The state appeals courts denied a hearing, as had the court of claims, and rendered one-line denials.
The federal court held that the entire case was precluded as if the exact same claims by the same parties from the state case were reasserted, when they were not. Data shows a racially disparate impact on African-Americans who had more to gain by this passing and were amongs the earliest signers.
The state of Michigan made it impossible for MILegalize to rebut so-called “stale signatures” by instructing municipal clerks that they were not required to comply with the rebuttal process and to refuse to confirm signers were registered both on the date of signing and within 180 days of the petition filing.
To disqualify signers registered in Michigan on the date of signing based on the chance that they moved to another state and registered there, in itself, violates the constitutional right to travel.
The state court case has been appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which as of this writing, had not decided whether it would hear MILegalize’s compelling case of voter and initiative disenfranchisement.
Although these cases were filed as expedited election matters, justice delayed is justice denied. We cannot wait for the courts and must begin this May to collect signatures within 180 days, which requires MILegalize 2018 to raise more money immediately before we enter the 180-day window to collect signatures, speed racer style.
In Michigan, a coalition led by MILegalize 2018 is attempting to relegalize cannabis for adult use through a legislative initiative, for social justice. Celebrity endorsements are solicited to help Detroit stop the school-to-prison pipeline and to perform at MILegalize fundraisers.
Favorable Poll Results
A February 2017 EPIC/MRA poll sponsored by Michigan NORML says 57% of residents want to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. My law partner, Cannabis Counsel PLC founder Matthew Abel is the executive director of Michigan NORML. He said voters in every region of Michigan supported the proposal and it reflected an increase of 4% from a March 2016 EPIC/MRA poll, despite many people lying and saying “No” when somebody calls and asks if they approve of marijuana because they’re paranoid.
Thomas Lavigne of Cannabis Counsel has been practicing litigation, appeals and business law for nearly 25 years. Cannabis Counsel represents patients, caregivers, clubs, collectives, dispensaries, suppliers and more in the medical cannabis field (www.cannabiscounsel.com). He is a board member of MILegalize.[contextly_auto_sidebar]