Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations Extends Deadline for Provisioning Centers Temporarily Operating While Their Application is Pending

May 30, 2018

The department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued new emergency rules through the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR), that will help ensure medical marihuana patients will continue to have safe access to their medicine.  The previous emergency rules would have required all currently operating medical marihuana facilities to close and cease operations if they had not received a state license by June 15 2018.  This has been a concern for many patients and caregivers across the state as the BMMR and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB)  have yet to approve any state licenses.  It certainly seemed that without new emergency rules or some other intervention,  medical marihuana patients and caregivers that rely on provisioning centers would be left without safe access to their much needed medicine.   Luckily, Governor Snyder signed the new emergency rules which amends Rule 19 and now extends the deadline for licensure approval to September 15th.

Rule 19 now allows for those provisioning centers that were currently operating and had sent in MMFLA applications to the BMMR by February 15th to remain operating temporarily until either they are denied a license or September 15th of 2018.  There is still some concern regarding temporary operation, as some board members have made statements about the legality of those who have previously operated without a license, and LARA in the press release announcing the new deadline for temporary operation stated, “Ultimately, licensure decisions will be made by the members of the MMLB, who may choose to consider unlicensed activity as part of the licensing criteria when deliberating on the overall application. Until a license is received from the state, the operation of a proposed medical marihuana facility should be considered a business risk by the operator”.

While the new emergency rules are good news for patients and those currently operating, it does little to speed up the licensing process and there is still no guarantee that any licenses will be issued by September 15th.  Even if some licenses are issued, will there be enough licenses issued by the MMLB to cover patients and caregivers in each of the 63 municipalities that have opted into allowing provisioning centers under the MMFLA?  It appears that LARA is working hard to accommodate patients by extending the deadline but isn’t taking the necessary steps to speed up the application process.  If you have any questions involving the application process under the MMFLA or any recent announcements by the BMMR please call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at the Covert Law Firm at 517-512-8364.

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Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana In Michigan

Those who have no legal right to possess or consume marihuana face what’s commonly referred to as Michigan’s “zero tolerance” law, meaning that a prosecutor only needs to prove that at the time of driving, you had the presence of THC in your system, regardless of your driving performance.

It’s important to note, however, that the Michigan Supreme Court, in People v. Feezel, No. 138031 (June 9, 2010), determined that 11-carboxy-THC, a metabolite of THC, is not counted against you for the “zero tolerance” law. Currently, the detection threshold at the Michigan State Police Toxicology Unit is one ng/ml of THC. That’s one billionth of a gram of active THC per milliliter of blood.

Interestingly, if you have a medical marihuana card, it must be shown that you were driving under the influence of marijuana to be convicted of operating while intoxicated or “drugged driving.”

Section 7 of the MMMA outlines the specific limitations in which a patient or caregiver will fall outside the framework and not be afforded legal protection under the MMMA. MCL 333.26427(4) states that the Medical Marihuana Act does not permit any person to, “operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana.” While some states have developed internal limits of THC for patients while driving, Michigan has yet to impose a nanogram limit for internal possession of marihuana while driving for medical marihuana patients. So, the only way a patient can be convicted of driving under the influence of marihuana is to show that one’s driving ability was substantially lessened because of the presence of THC in their system.

If you happen to find yourself having to deal with a criminal charge for driving under the influence of marijuana, don’t hesitate to reach out to ask some questions and talk about your case.

 

Convictions under the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code remain on your criminal history indefinitely, and you shouldn’t go down without a fight.

Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364.

Cannabis Attorney Joshua Covert debates Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher On Legalization

On March 23, 2018 The Cadillac News published an editorial regarding the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.  The editorial featured an anti legalization piece written by Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher and a pro legalization piece written by Michigan Cannabis Lawyer Joshua Covert.  The editorial written by Mr. Bosscher contained mostly outlandish claims backed up by  references to:  “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5″,  which was complied in October 2017, by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.  This report according to a forbes.com article  contains “indictments masquerading as objective assessments”  and is referred to as “dishonest”.  Further,  the report seems to ignore its own footnotes when reaching conclusions  and the reports executive summary stated that “the information here should be interpreted with caution”.  John Hudak a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Brooking Institute called the report “garbage” in a Denver post article.

Mr. Coverts editorial contradicted many of Mr. Bosscher’s claims and Mr. Covert cited to various reputable studies to do so such as the 2018 study published by the American Medical Association which concluded that those states with legal access to marijuana have lower opiate prescription rates.  Mr. Covert also mentioned a poll conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health which showed that teen marijuana use is down since legalization began,  the study also mentioned that Colorado has  lower teen use then the national average.

It is good to see that the debate about legalization is heating up and that mainstream media is covering the topic.  It is easy to see though that there is really no debate needed as voters overwhelmingly support legalization and the opposition has to rely on a single biased study that has been called “garbage” by the Brookings Institue.  Expect this topic to gain more traction in the media as it will be up to voters to decide in November of 2018 as the CRMLA (Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol) ballot proposal is headed to the ballot.

More Prequalification Approvals but Contradictory Statements from The Board at Today’s Meeting Cause Concern

Thursday May 3rd the Michigan Marijuana Facilities Licensing Board met and approved all three of the pre-qualification applications that were presented. Two of the applications passed unanimously and the other passed on by a 4-1 vote with Pickard being the only vote for denial. This would be the only board meeting so far where all the applications presented were approved by the board. The public comment portion of the meeting consisted of several individuals expressing concern over the boards’ ability to meet the June 15th deadline (see advisory bulletin) to approve or deny those applications submitted by businesses currently operating. If the pending applications are not fully approved by the June 15th deadline, all currently operating businesses will be forced to shut down preventing patients across the state of Michigan from obtaining medicine.

This is not good news for medical marijuana patients who rely on provisioning centers to provide them with access to medicine. Near the close of the meeting, the board was offered an opportunity to make comments.  One of the board members stated that those applicants who are not currently operating were at a competitive disadvantage.  Then the board member then went on to mention that this is all really about money. Seconds later in what was a strange turn of events, the same board member then went on to say “this is for the patients” and repeated it several times.

If the board members are truly concerned about the patients they will work with LARA (Licensing And Regulatory Affairs) and the BMMR (Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations) to ensure those businesses who are currently operating and have made a good faith effort to obtain a license should not be forced to shut down on June 15th because of the State’s deficiency in approving licenses in a timely fashion. So I pose a question to the entire board: why bring up money and competitive disadvantage when discussing what is in the patients’ best interest? State Board will you, for the patients, set aside any interests or concerns regarding money and competitive disadvantage and do what’s right by ensuring they have consistent safe access to medical marihuana?

Marijuana Versus the Opiod Epidemic

Illinois Senate Bill 336 was passed by a staggering 44-6 vote. The measure is intended to allow flexibility in obtaining a medical marihuana in the state of Illinois by recognizing the use of cannabis as medicine in the fight against the opiod crisis.

As amended, the bill allows persons with an active prescription for opiods to have legal access to medical marihuana as an alternative medicinal option for palliative relief. Persons who qualify will also be able to apply for a medical marihuana card. The medical marijuana program in Illinois is rather restrictive in terms of qualified applicants. Currently, Illinois has issued approximately 30,000 cards to its residents.

The expansion and formal recognition of the use of marijuana as medicine in Illinois something to take note of as many states continue to progress in their efforts to regulate medical marihuana. The bill heads to the House for approval.

Illinois is not the only state seeking to expand the availability of medical marihuana. Michigan has introduced a list of 22 proposed medical conditions to be added and recognized under the Medical Marihuana Act as qualifying conditions. The list includes anxiety, depression, diabetes, panic attacks, and a myriad of other medical conditions for approval consideration. The Review Panel is scheduled to make their recommendations to the Department Director at a public meeting on May 4, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

For those who are committed to staying up-to-date on Michigan’s marijuana laws, call (517) 512-8364 to contact the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers.