Snyder signs medical marijuana rules

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder signed emergency rules Monday allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to stay open after Dec. 15 without affecting their chances of getting a state license in certain circumstances.

Under one of dozens of new medical marijuana administrative rules Snyder approved, marijuana pot shops that were approved by their local municipal government prior to Dec. 15 can stay open until the state issues or denies them a license. That’s the same date dispensaries, growers and other pot enterprises can submit applications to the state to operate legally.

A 2013 Supreme Court decision ruled that dispensaries are illegal under state law. But many in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Lansing have not been targeted by State Police, while regional narcotics teams led by the state agency have cracked down in other areas of Michigan.

A 2016 overhaul to the state’s 2008 voter-approved Medical Marihuana Act allowed the department to craft the new rules as Michigan tries to transition to a fully legal medical marijuana business nearly 10 years later.

According to the order, not issuing the emergency rules would “have a detrimental effect on the necessity for access to a safe source of marihuana for medical use and the immediate need for growers, processors, secure transporters, provision centers, and safety compliance facilities to operate under clear requirements.”

The emergency rules are aimed at keeping existing medical marijuana shops open temporarily, so long as they’ve also received local government approval. They come after a member of a state board charged with issuing licenses originally threatened this summer to close them down.

The new emergency rules also established what many in the industry consider to be hefty start-up capital requirements. Growers must prove they have $150,000 to $500,000 in capital depending on the size of their farm. Dispensaries and processors must prove they have $300,000 in capital, while transporters and safety compliance businesses must have $200,000.

Applicants also must pay a $6,000 application fee and have an additional $100,000 in insurance. The rules also create product rules establishing limits for THC, the main psychoactive element in marijuana.