Legalization of recreational marijuana is on the ballot for November elections, and right now Michigan State Police’s Marijuana and Tobacco Enforcement Division is preparing for if the ballot initiative passes.
The division currently regulates the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act along with License and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), but things could change.
“Right now, we do background investigations on medical marijuana facilities, applicants and once people become licensed under the act then we’ll assist them with enforcement action if needed and facilities inspections to make sure they meet the requirements of the laws,” explains Det. Sgt. Eric Bannon of Michigan State Police’s Marijuana and Tobacco Enforcement Division. “We recently had a meeting and we talked about it, but right now we’re concentrating on the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act that’s already in place, and then if it should pass I’m sure we’re going to have a bunch of meetings to come up with a plan of how we’re going to regulate and how we’re going to move forward. Our unit is newly established and it’s growing, and we’re growing with the industry.”
With the Michigan Legalization Initiative on the ballot, recreational marijuana use could become legal, but it won’t change any of the laws already in place with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act.
MSP believe their roles will still be the same, but with more to manage. “We’re working with LARA now to help their regulators with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. If it were recreational, these facilities will still have to be regulated and policies that they set forth we’ll have to be involved in – they can require testing of the product to make sure it’s safe for consumption, if a person has a dispensary, certain security requirements for the facilities and things of that nature,” Det. Sgt. Bannan continues.
State Representative Sara Cambensy is concerned for employers and other businesses with recreational marijuana on the ballot, but provided this statement:
“At the end of the day, it will be decided by the people of the state of Michigan in November, and if it passes, it will be our responsibility as legislators to set fair and responsible laws governing it.”
The ballot initiative says people age 21 and over can grow up to 12 plants and have 2.5 ounces of marijuana available for recreational use. Any excess marijuana would have to be put away in a secure area. MSP’s Marijuana and Tobacco Enforcement Division urges voters to educate themselves before going to the polls, as only a small summary of the initiative is stated at the polls.
Like with medicinal marijuana, LARA would have to come up with rules and regulations. “Eventually under the law, the way the ballot initiative is written right now, the License and Regulatory Affairs will have a year after the ballot is certified, usually 10 days after the ballot is certified, to come up with regulations and rules regarding establishments that buy, sell, grow, transport marijuana under the Recreational Act,” Det. Sgt. Bannan says.