[Canniseur: MI AG Dana Nessel is backing her campaign promises with real action. The working group she’s put together offers a wide perspective as Michigan’s legal cannabis industry moves forward. She’s on the people’s side!]
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking measures to move the marijuana industry in the state forward by trying to troubleshoot legal issues and supporting federal legislation that would make it easier for weed businesses to bank their money.
This week she announced she’s started a legal work group on medical and recreational marijuana issues to regularly review and analyze laws and regulations that affect the Michigan market.
“We are working hard now to avoid the years of uncertainty, lawsuits, appeals and uncertainty that followed the enactment of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act in 2008,” Nessel said in a statement. “With new laws and regulations on the books, particularly concerning recreational marijuana, I am confident this diverse group collectively has the knowledge, experience, and thus credibility to make recommendations that will be accepted and implemented by all involved.”
The state of Michigan has also faced numerous lawsuits over its implementation of the 2016 law — the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act — in the past year. Most recently in April, Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello chastised officials in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for being “ill-equipped” to handle the licensing process in a timely manner — which has led to a market of unlicensed businesses.
Nessel’s work group will ultimately make recommendations to lawmakers, police, judges, prosecutors, lawyers and to the main regulatory body for the industry, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The work group includes the director of the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, Andrew Brisbo, as well as the following people: lawyer Robert Baldori, Livonia City Attorney Paul Bernier, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Political Director Margeaux Bruner, Assistant Attorney General Robyn B. Frankel, former 30th Judicial Circuit Court Judge James R. Giddings, State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section member Daniel W. Grow, Michigan State Police Lt. Chris Hawkins, State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section chairman Robert A. Hendricks, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan President DJ Hilson, attorney Barton Morris, Assistant Attorney General John S. Pallas, State Appellate Defender Office Director Jonathan Sacks, Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Legal Division Director Adam Sandoval and Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Kenneth Stecker.
“All legal and legitimate businesses should have a safe place to put their revenue and not have to rely on under-the-floorboard safes to store their legally earned money,” Nessel said in a statement. “Michigan expanding its market to include legal recreational sales of marijuana this year compels us to join this effort to ensure we protect Michigan businesses from becoming unnecessary targets of bad actors, keeping everyone safe in the process.”
The bill received the approval of the federal House Financial Services Committee in March, and now awaits the vote of the full House.
Nessel has brought a new approach to marijuana to the attorney general’s office since starting her tenure in January. By February she announced she had dismissed charges against four people in two pending marijuana cases.
Photo Credit: Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at the Frank Kelley Law Library in the Williams Building in Lansing. (Jake May | MLive.com file photo)