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Overhaul to Michigan Medical Cannabis Caregiver System Ready for Vote

· Oct 28, 2021
Under current law, caregivers must register with the state but don’t need a license to cultivate cannabis, can have up to five patients, and grow up to 12 plants per patient. Caregivers are ...

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Michigan lawmakers are set to vote on a package of bills that would make sweeping changes to the state’s 2008 voter-approved medical cannabis law, including reducing the number of patients allowed per caregiver and limiting the number of plants caregivers can grow at one time from 60 to 12, Michigan Advance reports.

Under current law, caregivers must register with the state but don’t need a license to cultivate cannabis, can have up to five patients, and grow up to 12 plants per patient. Caregivers are not currently subject to the state’s rules on testing, labeling, or tracking of cannabis products. Caregivers are allowed to grow a maximum of 72 plants if they are also a registered patient with the state program, the report says.

The reform package includes six bills. In addition to the caregiver reforms, the reforms would create a license for specialty medical cannabis growers and require those licensees to use a tracking system; exempts cannabis sales from a registered primary caregiver or licensed specialty grower to a registered qualifying patient from use and sales taxes; and updated the state definitions of debilitating medical condition in the state’s health code.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday applauded the approval of the reforms by the House Regulatory Reform Committee, saying it would “help improve safety and ensure fairness” in the state’s cannabis industry. Wendy Block, vice president of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement for the chamber, said the “legislation creates the framework for a new class of licensees to join the licensed marketplace and create thousands of new businesses.”

“By ensuring all cannabis providers follow the same rules and standards like testing, tracking and licensing, this legislation helps promote safety, fairness and a level playing field in this growing industry.” – Block in a press release

Caregivers argue the bills are being backed by corporate cannabis interests in the state and create excessive regulations for caregivers.

Yyan Bringold, a caregiver who organized the Caregiver Rights Rally last month, said that caregivers never had a seat at the table when lawmakers were crafting the legislation and that officials ignored advocates’ attempts to reach out about the proposal.

“We will not quit,” he told the Advance. “These big-money investors, they have made a power move.”

The bill moves next to the House floor. They must still be approved by the Senate before moving to the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) for her signature.