Michigan State University Extension Hosts Workshops on Local Regulation of Licensed Marijuana Facilities
Over the last few weeks, Michigan State University Extension has been hosting a series of 13 seminars across the state entitled, “Regulating Medical Marijuana Facilities: A Workshop for Local Government.” I attended the three-hour seminar held on campus at MSU.
As most readers of this blog know, Michigan’s new Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) establishes a framework for the regulation of five different types of licensed facilities. The MMFLA contains a local opt-in provision, meaning licensees may only operate in a local jurisdiction that has affirmatively authorized the specific type of licensed facility. Local governments may also cap the number of facilities of each type they allow, and regulate them through zoning and other requirements, so long as local regulations do not conflict with the MMFLA or address purity or pricing of marijuana.
MSU Extension’s seminar is intended primarily to educate municipal officials on the MMFLA. Of the hundred or so attendees in East Lansing, I would hazard a guess that 80 percent or more were local government planning staff, elected officials, or attorneys. Most reported that they are hearing from constituents with questions or recommendations on how to implement the MMFLA—with some, of course, advocating that no facilities be allowed at all.
As for the substance of the seminar, MSU Extension staff provided what I felt to be an unbiased explanation of the MMMA and the MMFLA, and the issues confronting municipal governments. Seminar attendees were given in-depth written materials, including draft ordinances. Attendees also engaged in role-playing exercises intended to have them listen to a range of views on the desirability of having licensed facilities in their communities.
Industry participants would be well-served to understand the issues and concerns from the municipal official perspective, and also to hear what those officials are being told both by MSU Extension staff and municipal government organizations. Although I found the seminar staff and materials to largely “play it straight,” I also heard advice that was disconcerting. A common refrain was that “it is easier to first say ‘no’ and then later say ‘yes’ than it is to first say ‘yes’ and then later say ‘no.’” More troubling, attendees were told that given the timing for license applications, municipalities could wait until late summer or early fall before beginning the process of crafting ordinances. For those of us advising clients acquiring real estate and getting their business plans in place to apply for licensure, such a delayed timing is highly problematic.
MSU Extension has just one more of these seminars yet to come; March 23 in Bessemer. For those who don’t wish to pair a seminar with skiing at Big Snow, MSU Extension also today announced a live webinar to be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on March 30. Registration is open until March 23 at the following link:
Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000