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5 Fast Facts and Updates about the MRA

Marijuana Provisioning Center

On April 30, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) established through Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-7. Led by Executive Director Andrew Brisbo, the MRA implements fresh practices to streamline the application process and ensure safe access to marijuana products. This agency replaces the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, whose inefficiencies became notorious among potential applicants.

Marijuana Regulatory Agency Logo

Since it’s conception last week, the MRA jump started on several initiatives and plans for the 2020 fiscal year. Furthermore, we listed updates you should know about if you’re thinking about applying for an adult-use license.

Medical marijuana is now available to patients immediately after online approval

Effective May 1, 2019, Michigan marijuana patients who applied for their marijuana registry card online may now use their approval email as a temporary license. Through this regulation, patients will receive their medication the same day they’re approved. Furthermore, this approval email is valid until patients receive their card in the mail and for 10 days from the email’s stamped date.

Additionally, expect the MRA to publish licensed provisioning center guidance concerning approval emails as temporary substitutes.

MRA is currently reviewing court orders

Earlier last week, the Court of Claims issued several orders relating to the operation of unlicensed facilities and access to caregiver products. While the MRA reviewed these orders, they are still evaluating whether any further legal action is appropriate.

Concerning unfinished applications

The MRA will review applications for applicants that paid a fee but never submitted a complete application, therefore never having it considered by the MMLB. Reviews include applicants that:

  • Never responded to deficiency notices
  • Failed to provide supplemental owner applications

Soon, the MRA will provide applicants an approval or denial of their application.

No disciplinary action against caregiver products

Until further notice, the MRA won’t take disciplinary action against licensees in the following circumstances:

Licensed provisioning centers

Licensees must:

  • Only obtain marijuana products from a licensed grower or licensed processor.
  • Obtain patient consent on an MRA provided form prior to selling any untested marijuana products obtained from a caregiver on or before April 30, 2019 in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.
  • Enter all inventory into the statewide monitoring system immediately upon receipt.
  • Verify – and confirm with government issued photo identification – with the statewide monitoring system that a patient/primary caregiver holds a valid registry identification card.
  • Enter all sales in the statewide monitoring system and must determine sales do not exceed daily purchasing limits.
  • Notify the MRA within 1 business day of becoming aware of any adverse reaction to a marijuana product sold or transferred.

Licensed growers and processors

Additionally, licensed growers and processors must:

  • Obtain marijuana products from caregivers.
  • Enter all inventory into the statewide monitoring system immediately upon receipt.
  • Only transfer tested marijuana products in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.
  • Tag or package all identified inventory in the statewide monitoring system.
  • Transfer marijuana products by means of a secure transporter, except where exempted under law.
  • Notify the MRA within 1 business day of becoming aware of any adverse reaction to a marijuana product sold or transferred.

The MRA is quickly growing

According to spokesman David Harns, the MRA currently staffs 102 full-time employees and holds a 2019 budget of roughly $19.7 million. However, 2020 fiscal year recommendations would increase the agency’s workforce to 150 full-time employees and funding to $22 million. Mainly, this is to handle the additional workload of the adult-use pot market.

Additionally, Harns says that the MRA will issue emergency rules for adult-use marijuana by June or July. Additionally, they will likely begin taking applications in September or October.

Less frequent, yet more productive meetings

Before last week, the former MMLB held hours-long meetings each month that sparked intense debate, disagreements and appeals among applicants. The largely unproductive meetings amounted to a weeks to months-long backlog of medical marijuana license applications, and frustrated applicants who felt unfairly treated by random board denials.

Now, the state is processing applications as they come in. MRA will also report directly to the governor, but continue to rely on LARA for services like financial and human resources services.

The MRA public marijuana survey is available now

The MRA is required by the Michigan Regulation and Taxation Marihuana Act (MRTMA) to develop a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marijuana industry by communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

Until then, the agency hopes that these survey results will help positively impact those communities through implementation of this plan. The survey’s questions will concern the following subjects:

  • What criteria to use in identifying communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement?
  • How should the MRA encourage those communities’ participation in the marijuana industry and how should the MRA selects these individuals?
  • What services should the MRA offer to qualifying individuals from disproportionately impacted communities?

The survey can be found here and holds a firm deadline of May 8th, 2019.

The potential national impact of the MRA

Overall, the MRA already seems far more effective than the MMLB. Through this, Michigan is suited to avoid the pitfalls states like California and Oregon experienced.

Michigan holds the tools, timing and governmental support to materialize a well-regulated and business-savvy cannabis industry. With an 100% application success rate in the past 18 months, Cannabis Legal Group possesses the expertise to help you enter this promising market. Contact us today for a legal consultation about your cannabusiness goals.

Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
The Cannabis Legal Group has been providing our clients professional and quality legal assistance in all aspects of representation for years.

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