Michigan advances toward home delivery of medical marijuana
Obtaining marijuana could become as easy as ordering a pizza for medical marijuana patients in Michigan.
A rule proposed by the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation would allow provisioning centers to make home deliveries of marijuana to registered patients through an online ordering system.
The rule is in line with the goal of the state’s emerging medical marijuana industry to provide safe access to patients, especially those who do not live close to a provisioning center, said Andrew Brisbo, director for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation.
“This isn’t a brand new issue,” Brisbo said. “We heard about it even during the promulgation of the emergency rules.”
The proposed permanent rules would replace current emergency rules, which do not allow for home delivery. A public hearing on the proposed rules is expected to happen in September and the guidelines put in place by the end of the year.
The home delivery rule would allow an employee of a provisioning center to deliver medical marijuana to no more than three patients in any given trip and limit the quantity delivered to daily or monthly limits. The rules allow for the delivery to a patient, not to caregivers. California, Oregon and Nevada have similar policies.
The employees making home deliveries will fall under the provisioning center’s license and won’t need a separate license like the secure transporters who carry product between facilities.
“It would be a change in the scope of their operation so their specific procedures for home delivery would have to be approved by the department before they engaged in it,” Brisbo said.
The marijuana can’t be left unattended in the vehicle, which must be equipped with GPS tracking so that the provisioning center always knows where the vehicle is.
The provisioning center also must keep a log in the statewide monitoring system indicating when a home delivery left the center, its destination and when it returned. Drivers must keep similar documentation on them while making the delivery.
“It will be indicated that they’re out for delivery and who they’re delivering to,” Brisbo said.
Patients potentially would be able to pay with credit card online or with cash upon delivery.
The home delivery option is “crucial” for some of the patients who qualify for medical marijuana, said Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report.
“The program is targeted to address the medical needs of the most ill citizens in our state,” Thompson said. “If you look at the list of qualifying conditions, some of those illnesses leave you without the ability to drive.”