MI: It’s Not A Pot Shop, It’s A Marijuana ‘Provisioning Center’

Photo Credit: Richard Vogel

What can you call a medical marijuana retail shop?

If you’re a regular Joe or Jill or media organization, you can call it anything you want. But according to the state, the medical cannabis shops CANNOT call themselves dispensaries, pharmacies, drugstores or apothecaries. Doing so could put their license in jeopardy.

“Provisioning center” is the preferred term, according to an advisory bulletin issued Monday by the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. And retail marijuana facilities also are not allowed to use any other term in their advertising.

The restrictive terminology is a nod to the Michigan Public Health Code, which says that the use of specific words and phrases is restricted to those people authorized to use them.

“The term ‘provisioning center’ includes any commercial property where marihuana is sold at retail to registered qualifying patients or registered primary caregivers,” the advisory bulletin noted.

And that’s not a typo. The state uses the more antiquated spelling of marihuana, instead of the more commonly used marijuana with a “J.”

The state harkens back to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 for its chosen spelling of the plant and the Legislature would have to act to officially change the spelling to marijuana.

“As governing state laws spell marihuana with an ‘h,’ communication from BMMR (Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation) in relation to the Medical Marihuana Act or facility licensing and the applicable administrative rules will use an ‘h’ in the spelling of Marihuana,” LARA said in a statement.

The state, however can’t dictate how anyone outside the marijuana industry spells the plant or what they call medical pot shops. So readers will rarely, if ever, see marihuana or provisioning center in the Detroit Free Press.