Marijuana Regulatory Agency issues emergency rules for recreational marijuana

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The Marijuana Regulatory Agency has issued emergency rules for adult-use marijuana in Michigan. The rules definitely
signal a different attitude toward marijuana in Lansing, particularly in making it easier for smaller businesses to get into the game.

The high capitalization costs for medical marijuana businesses, which added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been removed for the adult-use market. New license types for temporary events, micro-businesses, and social-use facilities are included in the new rules. To address the shortage of product available, the state has created an "excess growth" license which allows growers to produce more plants than their license calls for.

“We appreciate the hard work staff at the Marijuana Regulatory Agency put in to quickly develop these draft rules so that Michigan can get its adult-use cannabis program online as soon as possible," Josh Hovey, spokesperson for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said in a press release. "At first glance, we believe these rules are well-thought-out and forward-thinking. We particularly like that there are no capitalization requirements, which should help make licenses more accessible to small business owners."

It seems as though state administrators paid attention to citizens who testified at MRA listening sessions the past few months. The high cost to enter the business was a major complaint. Another issue is addressed by all applicants being required to submit social equity plans to promote participation in communities most impacted by onerous marijuana laws.

“And the fact that licensees will be required to submit social equity plans that detail how they plan on making their business inclusive to people disproportionately impacted by prohibition should help encourage a more diverse industry,” Hovey said.

These new rules indicate a major change in direction for marijuana regulation in Michigan, away from the slow-walking, mistrustful approach of the former marijuana bureau. The state will begin taking applications for adult-use businesses on Nov. 1, and could issue the first licenses within a couple of weeks after that. Adult-use applications will be expedited for those who already have medical marijuana licenses. Adult-use marijuana could easily be on sale in Michigan before the end of the year.

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