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Monday, March 7, 2016

Michigan News for 2016 - by Rachel Bunting




New Provisioning Center in Pittsfield
Pittsfield Township:
Perfect Solutions received its first “OK” from the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission this month. The company hopes to open an 8,100 sq. ft. operation which includes a provisioning center and grow operation. There were only a few small issues with the proposal, including landscape and hours of operation, which the company plans to clear up. The proposal states that the business will employ nine to twelve people, six of which will be caregivers. The plan also notes that the caregivers will strictly follow the state MMA and patients will only be able to receive medical marijuana from their caregiver. The applicant, Matthew Baker, wrote in his submission “Perfect Solutions strives to be a recognizable, professional care provider who will uphold the highest standards possible in regards to our local responsibilities and our reputation within the Michigan medical marijuana community.”




Indian Community Recognizes Michigan Medical Laws
Baraga:
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has passed an ordinance acknowledging Michigan Law in regards to medical marijuana on the reservation. The ordinance will allow patients with a Michigan medical marijuana card to possess, grow, and distribute marijuana on the reservation. While the KBIC voters did pass a non-binding vote in 2014 favoring the legalization of recreational as well as medical use on the reservation, the tribal legislation has yet to move forward. KBIC Council President Warren Swartz told the Mining Gazette that the move is basically just to open the door for medical marijuana patients using Michigan’s medical marijuana law. No plans have been made to open a distribution center anywhere on the reservation. 


LRCC wants Moratorium on Medical Dispensaries
Lansing:
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to city officials this month urging them to “implement a moratorium on any new medical marihuana provisioning centers at this time”. Going on to explain that their stance is not a biased one, “to be clear, LRCC does not have a current position for or against medical marihuana provisioning centers. However, the increasing number of provisioning centers throughout the city without proper regulations and enforcement is extremely alarming and should be addressed immediately.” The Lansing State Journal states Lansing Mayor Vig Bernero responded to the letter with, ‘“sounds like a decent idea to me” and would give the city some breathing room to sort out legal issues pertaining to enforcement of an existing ordinance’. He believes a moratorium is a step in the right direction as the city is in need of proper zoning and regulating. Bernero said City Council members, who have been expressing concern over the number of dispensaries and the need for stricter regulations for months, would most likely pass a moratorium proposal. While the city does not have an official count on the number of provisioning centers within its limits, it is believed to be around 60 in a city of 114,000 residents. Though centers are technically illegal in Michigan more areas like Lansing and Detroit are looking for ways to regulate these much needed businesses instead of closing them all down.


More Efforts to Legalize Recreational Use
Detroit:
Senator Coleman A. Young II has introduced legislation which would legalize recreational marijuana use in Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, the bill is being called the “non-medical marijuana code” aka Senate Bill 813. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. If approved, the bill would allow Michigan adults the right to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to five plants in a secured area, non-residents would be allowed to carry no more than a half-ounce. The legislation would also regulate and allow for growing facilities, dispensaries, and “marijuana lounges”. Smoking in public would still be illegal, and carry a $100 fine. It establishes an excise tax of $50 per ounce of flowers and $15 per ounce of leaves. Nearly 50% of the tax revenue would go to the state’s general fund, 30% would be dedicated to education, while the rest would be divided up between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Community Health. Sen. Young believes marijuana should be legalized “in the interest of allowing law enforcement to focus on violent and property crimes.” 


Moratorium Extended in Frenchtown Township
Frenchtown Township:
Businesses hoping to sell medical marijuana in Frenchtown will have to wait another year. The township board voted this month to extend the halt on granting licenses to medical marijuana provisioning centers through 2016. The board voted off a recommendation from the township planning committee. Supervisor Jim McDevitt stated that the board is waiting for more information regarding changes in state law as well as court decisions that dictate the use of medical marijuana. While there are no companies in the area requesting to open a dispensary, future entrepreneurs will have to look elsewhere to start their business as McDevitt describes that the moratorium will be “continuous until there are changes in the law…we’re in limbo.”


Explosion in Saginaw
Saginaw:
A fire on the city’s west side left three people seriously injured and a home completely destroyed. Fire officials believe the fire was the result of a butane explosion stemming from manufacturing hash in the home. Fire Department Cpt. James Champney told mLive, “We believe it was a grow house. Once we made entry we found multiple marijuana plants.” Firefighters had a difficult time gaining entry into the home when they arrived as the doors had safety bars and the windows were all boarded up from the inside. Luckily those living at the home made it out the back door, but they still suffered extreme burns to their heads, upper body, and arms. The fire is still under investigation. 


Marijuana Sales could Generate Millions in Revenue
Lansing:
A report released late last month claims that regulating marijuana sales as proposed by bills in currently in the Legislature could generate up to $63 million in revenue for the state. Dr. Gary Wolfram, an economist and professor at Hillsdale University, created the report which was commissioned by the Michigan Cannabis Development Association. Wolfram used the number of currently registered patients, which is about 182,091, to conclude that regulation and licensing would produce a revenue between $44.3 million and $63.5 million and create at least 10,000 jobs. According to MLive ‘a press release issued by the Byrum and Fisk public relations firm on behalf of Michigan Cannabis Development Association stated Wolfram’s analysis found if the 3% excise tax proposed by the bills in legislation is approved the money generated would be distributed so that “municipalities would receive $4.4 million to $6.3 million; counties would get $5.9 million to $8.5 million; county sheriffs would receive $800,000 to $1.1 million; and Michigan’s General Fund would get $3.7 million to $5.3 million.”’ Wolfram added at a press conference that regulating the medication could eliminate much of the black market sales while allowing patients to consume safer products.

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