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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Will Pinconning be the New Weed Capital of Michigan? - by Kathy Hess

     On January 10th, earlier this year, Pinconning Townships, Bay County, board members voted 5 yeas/0 nays on Ordinance No. 17-01, to authorize permits for commercial medical marijuana facilities within the township.

     An Ordinance to implement the provisions of the Michigan Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, Public Act 281 of 2016, which authorizes the licensing and regulation of Commercial Medical Marihuana Facilities […] and to regulate the cultivation, distribution and use of Medical Marihuana permitted under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Initiated Law I of 2008 in order to maintain the public health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors to the Township. Does this mean that the Pinconning Township is going to be the weed capitol of Michigan?

     Not likely.  Pinconning is not the first Township or City to enact legislation allowing for the licensing of commercial medical marihuana facilities, although they are the most recently known.  Each city/township has the ability to dictate whether they will, or not, allow for commercial medical marihuana facilities, the number of facilities within city/town lines and the number of plants each facility is allowed to farm. 

     Pinconning is no different, although it’s Ordinance No. 17-01 would suggest that it plans on being able to provide to its local population, which is great, but it’s not looking to be the Marijuana Mecca of Michigan.

     Pinconning has limited their number of facilities to 25, but more importantly they have deemed that only Class A licenses will be allowed.  Class A license dictates that only a maximum of 500 plants will be allowed in each facility.  If Pinconning had dreams of capitalizing on a booming market, perhaps draw in the bigger sharks waiting to eat up the commercial medical marijuana industry, they might have chosen to allow for Class B, which can possess up to 1,000 plants, or Class C, farming up to 1,500.

     Municipalities are gradually acting towards the next era of medical marijuana in Michigan and preparing to go commercial. And while the state won’t be accepting applications for commercial licenses until December 15th 2017, cities, and townships like Pinconning, are opening their doors to entrepreneurs already prepared for the next period of medicinal cannabis in the mitten. 
If you’re wondering if you could be one of those tycoons ready to jump a head of the commercial pack be sure to have an understanding of Public Act 281 of 2016, MCL 333.27101.

     The Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act orders municipalities to establish and permit ordinances concerning the establishment and process of medical marijuana facilities in their individual communities before the state will grant license to facilities there.  This does not mean that cities have to allow permits for commercial medical marijuana, it just means that local governments have to already have created ordinances that allow for commercial permits before one can apply for commercial license from the state. In this case, Pinconning is allowing annual permits for Class A commercial facilities only.

     All commercial medical marijuana facilities must be licensed by the state of Michigan.  All marijuana is to be tracked, all inventory, from seed to sale, with systems that allow for real time updates to the state.  All marijuana is to be tested for safety. 
There are five types of licenses which Act 281 outlines and each municipality can dictate how many of each, if any, they will allow:

Grower-- Which gets divided by class, Class A (up to 500), Class B (up to 1000), Class C (up to 1,500) —“A licensee that is a commercial entity located in this State that cultivates, dries, trims,  or cures and packages marihuana for sale to a processor or provisioning center.”  Pinconning is allowing up to 25 of Grower permits.

Processor—“A licensee that is a commercial entity located in this State that purchases marihuana from a grower  and that extracts resin from the marihuana or creates a marihuana infused product for sale and transfer in  packaged form to a provisioning center.”  Pinconning is allowing up to 25 of Processor permits.

Provisioning Center—“A licensee that is a commercial entity located in this State that purchases marihuana  from a grower or processor and sells, supplies, or provides marihuana to registered qualifying patients, directly  or through their registered primary caregivers. The term includes any commercial property where marihuana is  sold at retail to registered qualifying patients or registered primary caregivers.

     A noncommercial location used  by a primary caregiver to assist a qualifying patient connected to the caregiver through the marihuana  registration process of the Department of Licensing and Regulation in accordance with the Michigan Medical  Marihuana Act will not be a provisioning center for purposes of the Licensing Act.”  Pinconning is allowing for 10 Provisioning Center permits.

Secure Transporter—“A licensee that is a commercial entity located in this State that stores marihuana and  transports it between marihuana facilities for a fee.”  Pinconning is allowing up to 4 Transporter permits.

Safety Compliance Facility—“A licensee that is a commercial entity that receives marihuana from a marihuana  facility or registered primary caregiver, tests it for contaminants and for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other  cannabinoids, returns the test results, and may return the marihuana to the facility.” Pinconning is allowing for up to 2 Safety and Compliance Facility permits.


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