Michigan Senate Votes to Allow Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Across the State
The new bills will shape Michigan’s medicinal cannabis landscape.
Published on September 9, 2016

Last year, MERRY JANE made a bold prediction that Michigan could be one of the next major states to fully legalize cannabis, and although that answer has yet to come to fruition, it seems as if the The Great Lakes State has just moved one step closer.

After a long and steady fight to legalize the use of medical marijuana across the state, the Senate committee has made some major regulatory strides in their cannabis system, aiming to provide their citizens with better regulations through a new package of freshly passed bills.

On Thursday, members of the Michigan Senate voted with three-fourths majority to pass four bills that will help the state better regulate their medical marijuana system.

HB 4209-4210, 4827, SB 141, and SB 101 will give local communities more control over how many dispensaries they will allow as well as where they’ll be located. Additionally, the newly passed bills will create a more viable system to provide proper licensing for growers, dispensaries, patients, caregivers, and transporters.

The new amendments will also effectively legalize the use of non-smokable forms of cannabis, including oils and edible varieties, for both adults and children in need of medical marijuana treatment. Although the set of bills were stuck in the Senate committee for 11 months, they were finally able to reach the minimum amount of votes required to fully pass through. Unsurprisingly, there was still dissent from a number of Republican politicians, who in general are often staunchly opposed to marijuana legalization in any form.

“The endgame of this legislation with all of its societal ills is the full legalization of marijuana in our state,” said Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton. “This isn’t the legacy that I want to leave for the citizens of Michigan.”

Although the newly passed collection of bills may not please the state’s right wing, it will certainly receive a warm welcome by the majority of citizens of Michigan, giving them more control and better access to their medicinal marijuana system. All in all, local advocacy groups definitely see today as a major victory for the state, which has been battling to create more viable regulations for their cannabis industry for quite some time.

“The framework created by this landmark legislation will allow the medical marijuana industry in Michigan to spark small business development, promote job growth and generate much needed revenue for both the state and local communities. We commend the Michigan Senate, the entire Legislature, and particularly the sponsors of this legislation for their dedication on behalf of Michigan’s patient community and the industry required to support it,” said Willie Rochon, the vice president and spokesperson of the Michigan Cannabis Development Association.

This news come on the heels of a major blow to Michigan's recreational ballot initiative, which looks like it will not make it before voters this November. 

Tyler Koslow
Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.
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