by Rick Thompson/September 27, 2017
UPDATE: This report was updated to reflect current occupations of some of the participants. ~RT
LANSING– Dozens of Michigan citizens have been selected to participate in the creation of rules governing the new medical marijuana business program.
Five different workgroups are scheduled to take place, one for each of the five businesses being regulated by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA). The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) had previously announced the workgroups and issued a press release calling for applicants.
Per the August 22 statement from LARA/BMMR, almost 750 applications were received and of those, more than 550 were valid and complete. From that huge pool of citizens the Departments have selected the advisory groups who will make recommendations to LARA for rules governing the different business types; LARA is not obligated to honor the recommendations.
The Social Revolution has conducted an Internet search of the names made public in the announcement. The following is a “best guess” of notable members of the workgroups.
Secure Transporter workgroup includes Licensing Board member David LaMontaine; George Brikho of Evergreen Management, who owns a chain of indoor garden stores and is a former candidate for political office; Wisam Paulus, of Trepco, who was once labeled by fellow workgroup member Brikho as one of a group of “goons” and “greedy players” who manipulated former Representative and current lobbyist Mike Callton to modify the MMFLA bills in favor of their transportation companies; Heloise Glenn, an entrepreneur who once brought a loaded gun into federal court in Detroit; Randy Yatooma, a medical waste specialist; Benham R. Wrigley Jr., a lawyer with the law firm of Cannalex; Saginaw criminal defense attorney Alan A. Crawford; William J. Cousins, former Secret Service member and current security and investigations specialist; Sandra McCormick, who was a principal in the office of Sen. Rick Jones during many of the controversial changes made to the MMFLA bills in 2015-16 and is now leader of the marijuana industry trade group MCDA; Jennifer Zielinski of the influential firm of Dunaskiss Consulting and Development; Southfield attorney Steven Haddad; Michael D. Stein, an attorney from Warren; five others.
Safety Compliance workgroup includes Licensing Board member Nichole Cover; Benjamin J. Rosman, an attorney from Detroit and owner of PSI Labs; David Isenga, who has been a Quality Assurance Manager working for LARA and MDCH; Chaim B. Colen, MD, a neurosurgeon practicing in Michigan; noted Oakland County criminal defense attorney Barton Morris; Bruce Stein, JD, PhD, a lawyer and pharmaceutical biochemist; Omar Elias, president of 6-month old Northwest Labs in Southfield; Christina Montague, an active Washtenaw County politico; former House Representative Richard G. Fitzpatrick of Cannabis Science Centers; Jackson-area activist Robin Puckett‐Jervis; Ryan Ringold (actually Bringold), radio personality from the Political Twist-Up Show (defunct); Jon Mink of Trace Analytical Laboratories; Renee A. Beardslee, a toxicologist; Avram Zallen, CEO of Golden Road Labs; Andrew Magnus from Lake Orion’s Green Light Graphics; Paul Homeniuk, of Practical Education Solutions and a former Green Party candidate for Governor; one other.
Provisioning Center workgroup includes Licensing Board member Donald Bailey; attorney Robert Hendricks; R. Lance Boldrey of powerful law firm Dykema Gossett; military veteran and owner of the Lake Effect dispensary, Jevin Weyenberg, Todd Kozicki of Detroit’s Mr. Top Shelf’s Herbal Remedies; Mt Pleasant police chief Paul Lauria; nationally-known attorney from Detroit, Matthew Abel; Brooke Malik, co-owner of Flint area dispensary Green RX; Gerald (Jerry) Millen, owner of the unopened Green House dispensary in Walled Lake; Nancy Morrison, whose credits include leadership of the Troy Community Coalition for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse; Pontiac physician Bryan Swilley, DO; Wexford County prosecutor Jason Elmore; Douglas E. Mains of the influential Lansing law firm of Honigman; Kimberly James, Detroit city attorney; six others.
Processor workgroup includes Licensing Board member Rick Johnson; Craig Aronoff, a real estate attorney from Southfield; Leonard Cusenza of How Sweet It Is Fudge and Candy Co; Jacob Linder, listed as Principal at Great Lakes Glass and Vapes; Josh Mayo of Detroit company Precision Extraction Systems; Matthew Roman attorney; Anqunette “Q” Sarfoh, former Fox News anchor and multiple sclerosis patient; Michigan speaker for LEAP and a former police office in Canton, Steve Miller; attorney from Cannabis Counsel, Thomas M.J. Lavigne; Dr. Fred H. Hambleton; nine others.
Grower workgroup includes Licensing Board member Vivian Pickard; Vice president of Oasis Wellness Centers and the attorney for Wild Bill’s Tobacco stores, Paul Weisberger; attorney John Hyden, Esq.; Jeff Nemeth, CEO of ACT Labs; Matthew (Justin) Dunaskiss of Dunaskiss Consulting and Development; Indiana’s Steve Ratcliff, land broker for MedFarm; Johnathan Finstrom of Power Play Power Sports, a Detroit dispensary applicant; Susie Raker‐Zimmerman of C. Raker and Sons, greenhouse experts; Joseph C. Smith II, a member of the Michigan Association of Health Underwriters; twelve others.
During the last meeting of the MMFLA’s Licensing Board, controversial member and former Michigan State Police sergeant Don Bailey tried to make a motion to have the State Police participate in each one of the workgroups, an effort which was deferred to the Board’s next meeting on October 17th by BMMR Director Andrew Brisbo.
Bailey has caused great discord and major controversy with the proceedings of the Board by insisting on a shuttering of existing businesses in advance of the new medical marijuana program’s launch, with businesses expected to be licensed in the second quarter of 2018.
The official notice was accompanied by a disclaimer, reproduced here.
“Please note that the Bureau reserves the right to change the composition of any work group as it deems necessary throughout the process. The Bureau may choose a replacement in the event that a selected work group member is unable to attend the meeting.”
For more information, visit the BMMR webpage at www.michigan.gov/medicalmarihuana