Michigan is phasing out a significant source of medical marijuana sold at dispensaries.
Licensed caregivers will be prevented from selling marijuana to the regulated market beginning on Oct. 1, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced in a bulletin Monday.
The original intent of caregivers was to provide cannabis to up to five medical cardholders. But the state allowed caregivers to sell to licensed growers and processors to overcome a shortage in marijuana.
Now that the state has nearly 200 licensed medical cannabis growers in Michigan, the MRA is beginning to cut off caregivers to allow the market to work itself out.
“We have always put patients first when we make decisions regarding medical marijuana,” MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said in the bulletin. “This phase out process is an important next step in implementing the will of Michigan voters and making sure that patients continue to have access to their medicine.”
To make the transition smoother, the state is phasing out the use of caregivers in three steps. Beginning Sunday, growers and processors were prohibited from obtaining marijuana plants, concentrates, vape cartridges, and infused products from caregivers. Growers and processors will be permitted to continue buying unlimited flower from caregivers until May 31.
From June 1 to Sept. 30, a commercial grower can only obtain caregiver-grown marijuana flower that weighs less than or equal to 50% of the total weight of flower that the commercial grower harvests.
The final phase is Oct. 1, when growers can no longer obtain flower from caregivers.
Caregivers were the source of marijuana cartridges tainted with vitamin E acetate, the potentially deadly additive that is to blame for the outbreak of lung injuries.
The impact of the phaseout is not yet clear. If there is a shortage, prices could rise.
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