by Rick Thompson/December 20, 2020
During an December 9 interview with Four20Post’s Rick Thompson and Mike Brennan, Director Brisbo of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency said the $30 million plus Michigan Medical Marihuana Fund might be used to help pay for the Clean Slate expungement program recently passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor on October 12, 2020.
In years past, medical marijuana patient and caregiver registrations in the state were expensive, and that created more revenue than the costs the fees are designed to cover. “The registry program, those costs are just to offset the costs of administering the program,” explained Director Brisbo.
The overpay is put into the Marihuana Fund, and grows. It does not revert to the General Fund at the end of the year, it accumulates. It is untouchable, unless that touch is approved by the state legislature. The Fund has been growing for more than a decade.
But it will grow no more. The fees are now at the perfect rate, Director Brisbo revealed. “About a year and a half ago we changed the rules, we took the fee for a card from $60 every two years down to $40.” Other registration fees were removed; the result is financial harmony. “We are level set. The money that comes in just offsets the cost of actually processing the applications and issuing the cards.”
That leaves a Marihuana Fund with a balance of “over $30 million now,” the Director recalled, and no new funds coming in.
There is something that comes out of the Fund each year. The legislature did approve an annual disbursement of up to $3 million for municipal governments to draw from, to use for education about or the enforcement of the Medical Marihuana Act. “That’s kind of spending down the balance of that Fund, if you will,” Brisbo explained.
“And there’s been some discussion about utilizing some of the funding there for Clean Slate as well,” Director Brisbo mentioned.
“Clean Slate being the expungement program,” asked Thompson.
“Correct,” answered the Director.
As mentioned, the Marihuana Fund cannot be touched except by act of the legislature. Earlier in the broadcast Director Brisbo acknowledged that an effort to amend the MMFLA and MRTMA laws via legislation would not be pursued until next year. Tapping the Marihuana Fund to pay for the legislature’s new Clean Slate program might be part of the proposed legislation in 2021.
Jamie Cooper and Stevan Bratic joined the Four20Post broadcast on December 9. Watch the video of the Director’s exclusive interview at the link below: