by Rick Thompson/March 20, 2018
LANSING- The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has issued a list of more than 70 Michigan communities which have already passed ordinances allowing medical marijuana businesses to open under the new taxed and regulated program called the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA).
The MMFLA was passed in 2016 by the legislature and the program is being rolled out in 2018 under Emergency Rules enacted by the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR). The applications process for hopeful businesspersons was initiated on December 15, 2017; the first wave of applications will be considered by the Licensing Board at their meeting on Thursday, March 22.
In addition to the 70+ cities and townships which have passed ordinances under the MMFLA Emergency Rules, the list also includes more than a half-dozen cities which have ordinances pending. The list was updated as of March 9, 2018.
The list cites marijuana-friendly communities in 37 different Michigan counties- less than half of the state’s 83 counties. The top areas for inclusive communities includes Bay and Van Buren Counties (5 listings); Ingham, Macomb, Marquette and Wayne Counties (4 listings); Berrien, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Oakland and Tuscola Counties (3 listings).
Notably absent from the listing are nearly all of Michigan’s largest cities and urban population centers. No enabling ordinance exists in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, Westland or Livonia. Of the state’s ten most populous cities only Lansing has a correct enabling ordinance, per the LARA listing.
The need for these enabling ordinances is underscored by the wave of Cease and Desist letters being issued by LARA and the BMMR against businesses operating in Michigan’s five newly-regulated industries: the cultivation, processing, testing, transportation and retail sale of medicinal cannabis. 40 letters were delivered last week by Michigan State Police and representatives from LARA in the northern and western portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Spokespersons from LARA reported that there are “hundreds” more Cease and Desist letters to come.
The Cease and Desist action is designed to bring an end to long-standing businesses which have not made application for the MMFLA program and have not received an Attestation Letter from their municipal clerk. Businesses with those documents were required to submit them by February 15. Eyewitnesses and business owners who received the Cease and Desist order reported to The Social Revolution that the agents of LARA made reference to a master list of non-compliant businesses identified by the state agency.
Although Detroit is not included in the LARA listing of cities with enabling ordinances, they did have one in place until City Council decided to suspend it. Some business owners and applicants in Detroit were able to receive those all-important Attestation Letters and successfully made application to the BMMR in time, according to BMMR Director Andrew Brisbo’s interview on the industry podcast Jazz Cabbage Cafe.
The list is maintained by LARA and the permanent link to the listing can be found on the BMMR website HERE.