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Environmental Compliance: What Marijuana Processors and Growers Need to Know

There are many laws, rules, and regulations that must be followed in the cannabis industry to keep one’s cannabis business in compliance and good standing. Some applicants may not be aware that a license from the MRA does not certify that their business is compliance with environmental laws enforced by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Marijuana leafs over sky stock photo

What is EGLE?

There are several environmental laws and permits for growers and processors that are necessary, even with an active license.

In effort to protect Michigan’s environment, EGLE has laws and permit requirements that regulate the protection of water resources, solid waste and hazardous waste, and the protection of air quality.

Cannabis growing and processing requires the use of significant quantities of potentially harmful materials, may generate air emissions and requires specialized disposal methods for their wastes.

Environmental Requirements for Cannabis Businesses

As a grower or processor, you may need certain permits to withdraw water, to use or build on certain lands, or to discharge wastewater.

At a meeting of the West Michigan Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association, an EGLE representative stated that there seems to be a disconnect between licenses given by the MRA and the number of environmental permits given by EGLE.

You need to consult with an experienced cannabis attorney to make sure your operation holds all applicable permits and is not in violation of any environmental laws.

If a grower or processor is unaware they need a permit, they may find themselves in violation of various laws, even if they are operating with a valid license. EGLE will notify the MRA of any violations they discover, which could very well negatively impact an active license’s status and the ability to continue operations.

As a licensee, you may be asking yourself how you can obtain guidance on these environmental laws and permits. EGLE has developed resources to provide an overview of how to achieve compliance found below:

This guide will help you answer questions such as:

  • Are there reporting requirements for water withdrawal?
  • Can we use water from our municipality?
  • Can we put wastewater in a pond or wetland on our property?
  • Do we need a permit to discharge stormwater from a marijuana production or processing facility?

Other federal, state, and local regulations/programs may apply. Therefore, it is critical to meet with a cannabis attorney to ensure regulations are met and that your business is doing its part to protect Michigan’s environment to keep your operations in good standing.

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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