Whitmer backs resolution to keep medical pot flowing

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    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking a medical marijuana licensing board in its penultimate meeting to keep licensed weed growers and processors open for business.

    Gretchen Whitmer

    The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will ask the board to adopt a resolution that’s meant to maintain the supply of medical marijuana to patients before the board is dissolved by an executive order Whitmer signed this month that abolishes the Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) by April 30.

    The move angered at least one member of the board, Don Bailey, a former State Police narcotics enforcer. He argued it provided an extra layer of scrutiny to medical marijuana business applicants, as the Michigan Advance reported.

    The resolution Whitmer is now asking the MMLB to approve before it’s disbanded would stop any “disciplinary action” against licensed growers and processors that purchase marijuana from caregivers who can legally supply medical pot to patients.

    “Our ongoing discussions with medical marijuana stakeholders have demonstrated that this is the right thing to do in order to provide for continued patient access while ensuring that only tested products are being distributed,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This next step in the process is important in order to continue to move the medical marijuana industry forward.”

    The resolution she’s asking the board to adopt would take effect on April 1, if approved at the next March meeting.

    Andrew Brisbo

    “Our recommendation requires state testing and the use of secure transport as products are moved through the regulated supply chain,” said Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Director Andrew Brisbo. “It creates a fair and competitive environment for licensed facilities and allows tested caregiver product to help maintain a sufficient supply until the licensed growers are fully online.”

    A pro-marijuana group called the Great Lakes Cannabis Chamber of Commerce supports the resolution.

    “Treating caregiver product in the same manner as any other cannabis in the regulated market keeps public health and safety at the forefront of this matter while ensuring patients have access to medicine they need,” the group said in a statement. “The GLCCOC looks forward to continuing to work with the administration on finding more common sense solutions in this field.”

    Michael Gerstein
    Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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