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Pot users, others sought to hash out marijuana rules

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — The state is looking for individuals who use or don’t use pot to help hash out future medical marijuana regulations — potentially anybody.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced Tuesday that it’s searching for people to make suggestions on future rules for growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, provisioning centers and pot transporters. But it didn’t announce any specific criteria for expertise on the matter.

The state is inviting anyone interested to email with WORK GROUP in the subject line to be considered.

“We are interested in finding a group that represents diverse perspectives in order to gain insight into the core issues in the implementation of this new regulatory program,” said LARA spokesman Jason Moon. “We will analyze the potential participants with the intent to capture feedback from all these perspectives.”

The only other requirements are including a name, mailing and email addresses, a phone number, which work group the person wants to take part in and that person’s job title, employer or organization.

Those interested should include a pithy 150-word explanation about why they’re qualified to be part of the work group, according to the department. Don’t include any attachments. And make sure to send the email before 9 a.m. on Sept. 5.

LARA will announce work group members a week later on Sept. 12. The goal is to “seek input on the regulatory topics.”

Everyone who meets LARA’s requirements will be considered. But state officials stress that even people who aren’t selected can still get a chance to voice their opinions, concerns and analysis at public hearings.

“Regardless of participation in the work groups, all interested members of the public will be able to participate in the permanent rule-making process that includes public comment, hearing notices and draft rules that will be published for review and comment,” according to the department.

The announcement comes a day after a member of the state board that will make recommendations for new medical marijuana rules said he wants all existing dispensaries shuttered until official state licenses can be distributed.

The member – retired State Police sergeant Donald Bailey – also said he doesn’t think current dispensaries should receive legitimate permits to distribute medical marijuana because such shops have operated illegally, although the state legalized marijuana for medical use in 2008 by a voter referendum.

The state has not clamped down on medical marijuana dispensaries for the past nine years.

The board tabled the issue until LARA and the Attorney General’s Office can weigh in.