Michigan Issues Emergency Recreational Marijuana Rules 

[Canniseur: I’ll never understand the separation of food sales, alcohol, and weed. Next month, we’ll hear about Michigan’s social equity plan to help communities that have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition.]

Recreational marijuana smoking lounges, festivals and home delivery will soon be allowed in Michigan, under a set of emergency rules state officials released Wednesday.

The rules define the launch of the recreational marijuana market in Michigan, and were signed Tuesday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. They outline how the new adult-use market will function, how the business license application process will work and how the recreational and medical marijuana industries will interact.

Despite the rules being issued this week, sales of recreational marijuana are still months away.

The release of the rules now is intended to give Michigan’s local governments time to decide whether they want to ban adult-use marijuana businesses before the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency begins accepting business license applications. The emergency rules expire in six months.

“It provides clarity on the state’s approach on establishing the regulatory program and doing so in a way that is consistent as possible with the standards in the medical market that exist now, and doing so in a way that provides adequate time for municipalities to evaluate what we put in the rules and to make a determination on how the municipality wants to approach this new market before we start taking applications,” said agency Director Andrew Brisbo in a phone call with reporters Wednesday.

About 4.7 million Michigan residents live in one of the nearly 600 communities with a ban on adult-use marijuana businesses, according to an MLive analysis.

Brisbo pledged to start taking business and event applications Nov. 1, and said some businesses could receive their licenses to operate that same month. That’s five weeks before the agency legally has to start licensing businesses under the law Michigan voters approved in November 2018 that legalized weed.

Regulations on the recreational marijuana market mostly mirror those on the medical marijuana market, except when it comes to money: officials are dropping the capitalization requirements for prospective recreational marijuana businesses. That’s a stark difference from medical marijuana businesses, who have to show they have from $200,000 to $500,000 in assets, depending on the license they seek.

The state will allow medical marijuana and recreational marijuana to be sold in the same retail store, as long as the products are physically separated.

Additionally, the rules allow for the temporary transfer of medical marijuana to the recreational market if the Marijuana Regulatory Agency determines it is necessary and possible, Brisbo said. However, officials aren’t guaranteeing that will happen.

The rule set also includes provisions for social marijuana use, including specific licenses for consumption at special events. Marijuana smoking lounges will also be allowed, including at retail stores. However, those establishments will not be allowed to serve food or alcohol, Brisbo said.

Officials have also created a new license type for marijuana growers who want to operate on a large scale in both the medical and recreational markets. The new license type allows growers to have more plants than is currently capped under state law.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency is developing a social equity plan to help communities that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition, and intends to release that later this month, Brisbo said.

Original Article: Michigan issues emergency recreational marijuana rules – mlive.com

Top Photo: Keanen Gunnells smokes marijuana at Hash Bash on the Diag at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Saturday, April 6, 2019. (Jacob Hamilton | MLive.com file photo)

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