Medical Marijuana Facilities Act Panel Held at SVSU

Marijuana plants are for sale at Harborside marijuana dispensary on Monday, January 1, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. Starting today recreational marijuana can be sold legally in California. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

Saginaw Valley State University hosted a panel discussion Wednesday, Jan. 10 regarding the Medical Marijuana Facilities Act.

Representatives from the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Michigan Municipal League, the city of Kalamazoo and Consumers Energy provided information and answered questions and concerns regarding the recent licensing requirements for those looking to start a medical marijuana business and how communities can handle those issues.

The new statute creates five categories of licenses: grower, processor, secure transport, provisioning center and safety compliance facility. Three classes of grower are also available: Class A for growing up to 500 plants; Class B, 1,000; and Class C, 1,500. However, the application process is a bit confusing as communities around the state decide whether they want to pass medical marijuana facilities ordinances, stay out of it or adopt a wait and see approach.

LARA Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation legal section manager Colleen Curtis says emergency rules are currently in place to keep in compliance with the act until permanent rules can be adopted. She says Anyone interested in making comments or suggestions on the rules structure can contact LARA by visiting www.michigan.gov/lara for more information.

Kalamazoo City Attorney Clyde Robinson cautioned community leaders to take a long look at the issue as there are many factors to consider.

“Consult with your attorney, consult with your municipal planner, consult with your local police and fire officials as to what you have to think about when you’re approaching some of these issues.”

Robinson says the Michigan Municipal League is an excellent resource to help communities navigate their way to a decision on medical marijuana facilities.

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division Office Bruce McColley also warned community leaders how marijuana use and associated problems have risen in states like Colorado where recreational use is legal. He says large criminal organizations are taking advantage of legalization efforts. He says while the opioid epidemic has been a priority in recent years, the DEA does pursue investigations into criminal marijuana activity which violates federal law.

Businesses interested in setting up shop in a specific municipality should first determine what, if any, ordinances are in place by checking with the local government and what their conditions are to operate within their boundaries before moving forward to apply for licenses.

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