Ever since Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008, there have been more questions than answers when it comes to interpreting the law. That has finally changed. A little over a month ago, Governor Snyder signed into law a package of bills that aim to clear the haze on this topic. From “medibles” to dispensaries, Michigan is attempting to better regulate our medical marijuana industry. For those of you who still aren’t certain what that means, here is a quick break down of the new laws.
While most of the new laws are structured to protect businesses and those producing the marijuana, there are some very specific new patient protections as well. Under the new legislation, the term ‘Medical Marijuana’ has been amended to include oils, extracts and edibles, sometimes called ‘medibles’ as well as the more standard smokable variety.
Before, only the dried flower buds intended for smoking in a rolled joint or pipe, were considered legal. Now, under House Bill 4210 (now Public Act 282) one may now purchase marijuana infused oils, pure plant extracts, ‘cannabutter’, candies and chocolates made with medical marijuana. In addition, there is a wide variety of other edible and ingestible products. In addition, the new regulations have established maximum THC levels for ‘medibles’ and other by-products.
Under the new system, a patient may also now possess a combined total of 2.5 ounces of raw medical marijuana, along with what is determined to be ‘usable marijuana equivalents.’ This would include the oils, extracts and other by-products. For the purpose of weight calculation, the new law states that one single ounce of dried marijuana is equal to 16 ounces of solid product infused with marijuana, or 7 grams of marijuana-infused product in a gaseous form, or 36 fluid ounces of marijuana-infused product in its liquid state.
In addition, the issue of Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries has been cleared up. House Bill 4209, now Public Act 281, is the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. It’s purpose is to license and regulate the growth, processing, transport and provisioning of medical marijuana. Under this law, ‘transporters’ of marijuana are required to be licenced by our state as a separate regulation from those who grow and sell it.
Dispensaries Are Now Legal in Michigan
Also covered by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, is the issue of where a patient can acquire their medicine. Dispensaries are now legal, as long as they abide by the regulations spelled out in the new law. Growers will be happy to note that in addition, there are also now limitations on law enforcement’s use of seizure and forfeiture when it comes to medical marijuana.
The final bill in this three part package is House Bill 4827, now Public Act 283, which created the Marihuana Tracking Act. This is a seed-to-sale tracking system which will track all medical marijuana produced, gown, sold and transported within Michigan. This will ensure that the product is kept safe and not tampered with, and that what patients are purchasing is of good quality.
It is important for our readers to know that while the new laws went into effect the day they were signed, on September 30, 2016, there are some aspects of this legislation that won’t take effect immediately. For example, while the laws protecting Michigan patients who consume the marijuana edibles and by products were effective immediately, there is a one year delay before other business aspects of the law will be required to be up and running.
In a statement made to the public at the time that he signed these reforms into law, Governor Snyder said that,”This new law will help Michiganders of all ages and with varying medical conditions access safe products to relieve their suffering. We can finally implement a solid framework that gives patients a safe source from which to purchase and utilize medical marijuana.”
Hopefully the years of vague, poorly defined state laws that resulted in years of law enforcement interference and serious risk to both caregivers and patients is over. Although the new laws require considerable changes to the way the medical marijuana business has operated thus far, and also mean a lot more government oversight of the process, we can only hope the results are good. Both for the caregivers and MMA business owners across the state, but also for the patients and communities they serve.
If however, you or a loved one have been arrested and accused of violating the law with regard to medical marijuana, contact us immediately. The skilled defense attorneys at the Kronzek Firm have decades of experience handling accusations of drug crimes. In addition, we make it a point to stay up to date on changes in the law, so that we can offer our clients the best possible defense to all drug related charges. We can be reached 24/7 at 1 866-766-5245.