Michigan Provisioning Centers 2.0
New version of the Provisioning Centers Act introduced to empower dispensaries- in the state that just outlawed them
Last year it was House Bill 5580. This year it's House Bill 4271. Either version of the bill introduced the Provisioning Centers Act to the Michigan House, but this 2013 version comes at a crucial time in Michigan cannabis politics.
The Provisioning Centers Act, which will be formally read into the record on Tuesday Feb. 19 and introduced by Rep. Michael Callton, R-Nashville, empowers local communities within the state to license and regulate provisioning centers while enjoying protections from interference. The Centers described are similar to the medical marijuana dispensaries that have been seemingly ruled illegal to operate by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Over 100 dispensaries were in operation across Michigan prior to the MSC ruling in People v McQueen. That ruling authorized a civil penalty method for shuttering distribution centers as a public nuisance. Since then, medical marijuana centers from across the state have begun receiving letters demanding their operations cease and desist. Kevin Spitler and MedJoint received one in Oshtemo Township, near Kalamazoo. So did Green Oasis in Otisville, Genesee County.
The future of dispensaries, and the patients that depend on them, is clouded in uncertainty. After four years of a safe, secure facility to acquire medical cannabis from, these patients will support the black market- but it will never support them. No Mexican cartel will manufacture the topical oil distributed to patients for free at MedJoint, and no gang banger will support their local community like Blue Water Compassion Club of Port Huron has. The Provisioning Centers Act could fill that void.
The Act has received a pledge of support from fellow Republican Rep. Kevin Daley, from Lapeer County. During a fundraiser held in Dryden recently, Daley shared a stage with Callton and promised to continue the dialog on expanding patient's rights. Ann Arbor Rep. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat, also signalled support during Thursday night's broadcast of the Planet Green Trees Radio Show.
According to the Act, a Provisioning Center is defined as:
"Medical marihuana provisioning center" or "provisioning center" means a commercial entity located in this state that acquires, possesses, cultivates, manufactures, delivers, transfers, or transports medical marihuana and sells, supplies or dispenses medical marihuana to registered qualifying patients, directly or through the patient's registered primary caregiver. Provisioning center includes any commercial property where medical marihuana is sold to registered qualifying patients and registered primary caregivers."
The Provisioning Centers Act also provides rules for transporting cannabis from one location to another, controls who can be employees and establishes protections for cannabis testing companies, which are called Safety Compliance Facilities in the proposed Act.
The PCA embodies in its language some of the other existent rules for distribution centers: they must remain 1000 feet from most schools, it incorporates the excluded felony offenses rules made law by the passage of the Walsh Bills, it requires security systems and prohibits shared office space with or payments to any physician for recommendation services.
The Act also does the following:
- Establishes rules for caregivers and patients to sell any excess marijuana to a Center
- Identifies plants less than 12" tall and 12" broad as 'seedlings' and allows for their legal transfer
- Requires baked goods or other products infused with cannabis have the item's marijuana content clearly labelled
- Establishes that only the stated weight of cannabis in those baked goods or other products can count toward a patients's 2.5 ounce allowable weight (AW); currently, a one ounce brownie containing two grams of marijuana counts as a full one ounce when determining AW
- Visiting patients from other medical marijuana states can purchase and sell seeds, but not marijuana or any related substance
- Empowers municipalities with the right to regulate all aspects of Center operation, including requiring testing from a Safety Compliance Facility
- Allows LARA to restrict the Center's ability to advertise in newspapers, billboards, the Internet
- The Act would forbid any on-site consumption of cannabis except for infused topical products
- Limits patients to receive only 2.5 ounces from a single Center in a 10 day period
- Requires Centers to keep records to verify the ten day waiting period, which are subject to municipal inspection
- It establishes both protections and penalties for following or breaking the provisions contained within the Act for both persons and Centers
Additional sponsors are being sought for the Bill. Read the text of the Bill: house bill 4271