Whitmer rolls out new name for Michigan pot agency

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Three years after it was formed, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is getting a new name. 

The agency will be renamed the Cannabis Regulatory Agency and take up the task of overseeing hemp processing, distribution and sales in addition to its current regulation of the marijuana industry. 

The change moves most hemp oversight from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Cannabis Regulatory Agency. The agriculture department will continue overseeing hemp cultivation. 

The change made under executive order and set to take effect in 60 days "will allow for a more effective, efficient administration and enforcement of Michigan laws regulating cannabis in all its forms," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office said in a statement. 

"... To be blunt — safe, legal cannabis entrepreneurship, farming and consumption helps us put Michiganders first by directing the large windfall of tax revenue from this new industry to make bigger, bolder investments in local schools, roads and first responders," Whitmer said. 

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency was formed by executive order in spring 2019 to oversee regulation of medical and recreational marijuana following the legalization of recreational marijuana via ballot initiative in 2018. 

The 2019 order abolished the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, created in the wake of the legalization of recreational marijuana in November, and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, created under a 2016 law approved by the GOP-led Legislature. That same order delegated responsibility related to the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Since the Marijuana Regulatory Agency was formed it's been tasked with developing a regulatory structure for the marijuana industry; licensing dozens of growers, testers and shops; and enforcing regulations on the burgeoning industry.