Hemp Industry Daily: Michigan House advances legislation to regulate delta-8 THC

delta-8 THC

State lawmakers in Michigan on Tuesday approved a package of bills requiring hemp-derived delta-8 THC, along with other intoxicants that mimic a cannabis high, to be regulated by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously approved the bills, which now advance to the full House for a vote.

The action, spurred by a flood of unregulated delta-8 THC products entering the marketplace, has support from the cannabis business members in the state, including the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association whose executive director, Stephen Linder, testified before the committee earlier this month.

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MCMA applauds House Regulatory Reform Committee approval of Delta 8 THC legislation

capitol building

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association today applauded the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee’s unanimous approval of a package of bills requiring hemp-based Delta 8 THC and all other intoxicants that mimic a cannabis high to be regulated by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

Committee approval of the bills follows MCMA Executive Director Stephen Linder’s testimony on the legislation earlier this month. The bills, which now advance to the House floor, were spurred by Delta 8 products flooding the marketplace unchecked.

“We applaud the House Regulatory Reform Committee for taking this major step toward requiring all products that mimic a cannabis high to be regulated by the MRA to promote the health and safety of all Michiganders,” Linder said. “Any product considered medicine should adhere to the same health and safety standards as medicines dispensed in pharmacies. Currently, these products are available to anyone and can be found in gas stations, party stores and smoke and vape shops. We appreciate the committee’s attention to this pressing issue and look forward to full House consideration of this critical legislation.”

Michigan is not alone in wanting to address this imminent public health crisis. Twelve states have at least temporarily banned Delta 8 THC products, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah. North Dakota, Alabama and Oregon are also considering Delta 8 product bans.

MCMA testifies on Delta 8 THC legislation

capitol building

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association on Tuesday testified in support of legislation requiring the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency to regulate hemp-based Delta 8 THC products, which mimic a cannabis high and have flooded the marketplace. The legislation includes state House Bills 4740-4745 and House Bill 4517.

One of the guiding principles of the MCMA is to help ensure the health and safety of Michiganders.

“Any product considered medicine should adhere to the same health and safety standards as medicines dispensed in pharmacies,” MCMA Executive Director Stephen Linder told the House Regulatory Reform Committee. “Recently, individuals and nonregulated labs have developed intoxicants that mimic the high of cannabis. Because they are not listed in the MRA’s formulary regulated compound — Delta 9 THC — these products are unscrupulously sold in the open marketplace and are available to anyone. You can find them in gas stations. You can find them in party stores. You can find them in smoke and vape shops. Because they are not illegal, there is no way to enforce their safety and purity. The most recent example is hemp-based Delta 8 THC products, which have comparable intoxicating effects as cannabis.”

“Michigan is not alone in wanting to address this imminent public health crisis. Twelve states have at least temporarily banned Delta 8 THC products, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah. North Dakota, Alabama and Oregon are also considering Delta 8 product bans. We are not advocating banning these products. In the interest of protecting public health and safety, we are advocating regulating them and subjecting them to the same testing standards as every product that can get you high. There is nothing worth compromising the purity of our products and the health and safety of our customers and all Michiganders.”

Unfair microbusiness proposal would undermine marijuana industry

hand holding marijuana

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association today called on the Michigan Senate to scrap proposed legislation that would allow microbusinesses to skirt licensing requirements and do an end-run around the will of the voters. Senate Bill 1095 would create an unfair playing field, opening the floodgates to so-called microbusinesses that would not have to play by the same rules as already established Michigan companies and allow them to flourish without making the investment and infrastructure for state-of-the-art facilities or paying their fair share of taxes.

In a letter sent to the Senate today, the MCMA strongly urged senators not to bring the bill to a vote.

“Microbusinesses were sold to voters as small-business, single-location ‘mom and pop’ operations — a brewpub concept allowing small investors to enter the cannabis space with reduced cost,” said Steve Linder, Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association executive director. “Senate Bill 1095 goes way beyond what voters intended or imagined and changes the rules of the game midstream. This bill undermines the massive investment and risks of all growers and processors, regardless of scale. It would allow microbusinesses to do an end run around the licensing process, which undermines the integrity of a system which is just now beginning to work. This is a slap in the face to the manufacturers and entrepreneurs who have played by the rules and acquired class A, B and C licenses, each of which costs hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars.”

MJ Biz: Michigan cannabis group urges faster track for social equity applicants

michigan cannabis

A Michigan cannabis trade association is calling on state regulators to make social equity candidates eligible for adult-use marijuana licenses a year early but keep a moratorium until December 2021 for other recreational applicants.

State regulators recently said they were considering making recreational-only licenses available in November, a year ahead of schedule.

Michigan allowed existing medical cannabis operators the first crack at the adult-use market in December 2019 by establishing a two-year moratorium on most additional adult-use licenses.

Steve Linder, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association, which includes the state’s largest cultivators/processors, said the group sees an opportunity for the state to accelerate the timeline for social equity applicants to enter the market.

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MCMA announces plan to boost entrepreneurship in adult-use cannabis market

cannabis

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association today announced a plan to boost entrepreneurship in Michigan’s adult-use cannabis market for applicants disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and enforcement and calls on the Marijuana Regulatory Agency to act on the recommendation. The plan would make current Social Equity designees eligible for adult-use-only marijuana licenses a year early.

“Our plan will help reduce legal hurdles for local entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by outdated marijuana laws looking to participate in Michigan’s regulated cannabis market,” said Steve Linder, Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association executive director. “If enacted, our plan will spur new businesses, economic growth and job creation and contribute to a regulated cannabis market that ensures safe, tested and high-quality cannabis products for all Michiganders.”

Under Michigan law, there is a two-year moratorium on most adult-use-only licenses from Dec. 6, 2019, when the state started licensing adult-use businesses. Under the MCMA’s plan, Social Equity designees would be eligible sometime by the first of 2021 for adult-use-only licenses. The two-year moratorium for adult-use-only licenses would continue until December 2021 for Non-Social Equity applicants. (The MRA has it within their authority to move the date as a step in complying with the Social Equity mandate under MRTMA.)

The plan also calls on local units of government to “opt-in” to allow applicants for Social Equity status to create new adult-use marijuana businesses in their communities.

“As a Metro Detroit business owner, I’ve seen disadvantaged communities like ours fall behind in establishing businesses in Michigan’s regulated cannabis market,” said Bernard Moner, president of Black Swan Defense and Intelligence, a minority owned business providing application vetting, security plans and security technology for those seeking cannabis licenses from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and local units of government. “This plan gives local entrepreneurs a much-needed leg up to participate in Michigan’s cannabis industry and contribute to their local economy.”

“The MCMA plan would level the playing field for people in my district who have aspirations of starting businesses in this growing industry but who have hit government-created roadblocks getting their foot in the door,” said state Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall. “I look forward to working with the MCMA and stakeholders at the state and local levels to put this plan into motion.”

Our Stand on Vaping Related Illnesses

vape pen

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association is gravely concerned by the national outbreak of pulmonary-related illnesses associated with the use of vaporization products, including those that reportedly contained THC.

Based upon currently available information, it appears that most, if not all, reported cannabis-related cases concern the use of products sourced from the unregulated criminal market. This fact underscores the commitment to rigorous production, safety, and testing standards, and to ensuring that its members, and all other licensees in the Michigan cannabis industry, strictly adhere to all safety-related regulations and testing obligations.

Without question, processed cannabis goods are new additions to legal markets throughout the country. As those markets continues to dedicate scientific resources and commercial ingenuity towards the processes utilized to develop vaporization products, it is imperative that regulatory and safety-related check-and-balances keep pace with manufacturing advancements. As such, MCMA is committed to maintaining direct lines of communication with the Legislature, the Governor, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, law enforcement, and health agencies in order to find an immediate solution to the current health crises and, to ensuring that nothing similar ever occurs in the future.

While this important work is underway, the MCMA implores all consumers to avoid purchasing vape pens and/or oil from illegal sources that do not adhere to strict manufacturing and product safety standards. In that regard, the members of the MCMA promise that all products manufactured or sold by their facilities are free of any additives, cutting agents or other substances not know to be safe in light of currently available information.