Recreational Marijuana Sales Delayed Until April/May 2020
The State of Michigan is lowering or eliminating fees for medical marijuana registration. Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) Executive Director Andrew Brisbo says the state has worked hard to streamline the process for cardholders, not only by lowering costs but by also making it easier for patients to apply for and receive their cards.
Last February Governor Whitmer signed an executive order abolishing the State marijuana licensing panel, replacing it with a new entity, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, to process licenses for both the medical and recreational markets. Whitmer said the move was to “eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients.”
Cannabis lawyers and advocates cheered the move, as the former panel was seen by many as over-regulating.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed members to the Marihuana Advisory Panel in May 2017. Due to credible allegations of influence peddling that were exposed last February, Whitmer issued an Order abolishing the former panel. She appointed Andrew Brisbo, as executive director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, in April. Brisbo started his career in state government in 2004 as a regulation officer with the Michigan Gaming Control Board and will oversee an agency that is expected to grow to 150 employees with a proposed budget of almost $50 million. The Director is subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan State Senate.
Marijuana advocates and industry leaders had been frustrated by the former panel’s glacial process of licensure for marijuana businesses and the frequent denial of state-approved caregivers seeking licenses for the state’s commercial growers, processors, and dispensaries.
The program was initially designed to allow caregivers to recoup the costs of growing the plants, but many were accused of receiving profits beyond their expenses. As a result, many caregivers, who have provided medicine for the medical marijuana market since 2009, were denied licenses by the former panel.
CHANGES MADE TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA FEES
- The application fee for a two-year registry card is now $40, down from $60.
- A $10 fee to update, replace or add or remove a caregiver has been eliminated.
- Caregivers will no longer have to pay a $25 background check processing fee.