Lawmakers in Michigan have approved sweeping overhauls to its medical marijuana law, including plans to regulate and tax dispensaries, a seed-to-sale tracking system, and new rules for where and how provisioning centers could open, according to a report by the Detroit News.
Republican Sen. Rick Jones, who voted for the measure, said the reforms would make both communities and patients safer, while ending the ambiguities that have created confusion since the original voter-approved act was approved in 2008.
“What we have now is totally out of control … caregivers are growing excessive amounts of marijuana … they’re smuggling it in their trunks … it’s totally illegal,” Jones said in the report.
The new package would impose a 3 percent tax on gross sales, limit the number of dispensaries, and permit localities to impose their own zoning rules, also requiring that the centers get written approval from a municipality before they set up shop. Additionally, the rules would establish maximum THC levels for edibles.
Some Republicans argued that the overhaul creates a bloated bureaucracy, and does not address the problems in the industry. Sen. Patrick Colbeck called the measures a “defacto legalization of marijuana.”
However, Democratic Sen. Coleman Young II said that the legislature was not “freeing the weed.”
“If we were freeing the weed, you would know, because I’d be standing on top of my table right now,” Coleman said after the passage of the measures.
The package still needs to be approved by the House before it could become law.