Michigan Bill Reduces Number Of Plants Caregivers Can Grow
The House is now considering the legislation including House Bills 5300, 5301, and 5302 after being moved out of committee.
Michigan

Proposed Michigan Bill Decreases Number Of Plants Cannabis Caregivers Can Grow

The House is now considering the legislation including House Bills 5300, 5301, and 5302 after being moved out of committee.
Michigan

Proposed Michigan Bill Decreases Number Of Plants Cannabis Caregivers Can Grow

Author Contributing Writer
PUBLISHED
Dec 21, 2021
read time 3 MIN
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The medicinal properties of cannabis are becoming more mainstream and popular across America. States are moving forward with recreational cannabis legalization, but long ago, certain states realized and legalized the plant’s medical benefits for patients. Michigan, for example, legalized medical marijuana in 2008 before people voted for a recreational market for adults to launch in the state ten years later.

As of late, however, the medical marijuana landscape in the Great Lake State could begin to shift. The medical cannabis community in Michigan recently expressed their concerns over a new legislature that directly affects caregivers of medical marijuana patients, per WOODTV. New legislature, consisting of House Bills 5300, 5301, and 5302 – referred to as the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act – includes provisions that decrease the number of plants a medical cannabis caregiver can yield by two-thirds. Initially, patients could grow 72 plants, but under Republican state House Rep. Jim Lilly’s sponsored legislation, the number of permissible plants would reduce to 24.

Lilly argued that the legislation intends to ensure that all cannabis products meet the state’s quality standards. He explained two-thirds of cannabis, whether in the form of loose flower or concentrates created for dab pens, in Michigan isn’t regulated, leading to a significant amount of untested products on the market. For immunocompromised patients, it’s particularly alarming because of the possibility of cannabis contamination with mold, pesticide, salmonella, or e.coli, Lilly added.

“New York just went through some of this work, and they’ve done about 12 plants for six patients, compared to what I’ve proposed at 24, but our current law allows for 72, which for anyone who does any growing or cultivating cannabis knows is far more than six patients can possibly consume,” he said.

What Lilly didn’t consider is the reality of how this affects medical cannabis caregivers. The 72 plants that patients were allowed to grow weren’t necessarily all for the exact yield. Most patients break up their growth to have a consistent supply of medication. 

Take Pharmhouse Wellness founder Casey Kornoelje, for example. Before launching the Grand Rapids-based cannabis supplier, he began as a caretaker to his wife – a cannabis patient diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. He explained that the legislature takes a toll on the amount of cannabis he could provide his wife. Kornoelje explained that the plants aren’t being grown at the same stages – some are in early seedling stages while others are beginning to flower. “So when you break that down, it’s really not that excessive of a plant count as people are thinking,” Kornoelje said.

There are a few other aspects to consider with the legislature, as well. Lilly aims to reduce the number of untested products that residents consume, especially since caregivers aren’t required to undergo the same rigid testing as products in stores. The series of bills will also impact the areas in which the plants are grown. Lilly’s legislation will slowly limit the number of plants in residential areas to expand cultivation in commercial and agricultural areas. Unfortunately, this also means that smaller businesses will likely be hit the hardest in favor of corporate machines. According to Kornoelje, this significantly affects the economy, explicitly generating jobs for the community and creating ancillary business.

The series of bills were introduced in September and met with immediate pushback from the cannabis caregiver community. Lilly introduced the bill package on Sept. 14th, a day before the Michigan Caregivers United: Rally At Capitol protest against the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association in Lansing. Because of caregivers’ limitations, cannabis consumers threatened to boycott companies under the MCMA that endorsed the bill.

“Michigan’s cannabis consumers have lashed out in anger; a boycott of MCMA products and companies affiliated with them has resulted in the resignation of their President, the removal of any reference to individual members on their website, the election of a new Board Chair to clean up their public relations, and the cancellation of orders from MCMA companies by retailers,” read their demands in a press release.

MCMA has previously stated that a large portion of cannabis transactions in Michigan occur outside of the legal market, which is why they support Lilly’s sponsored legislation. However, over 250 companies have previously come out with statements defending the rights of caregivers, including The Botanical Co.

The House is now considering the legislation including House Bills 5300, 5301, and 5302 after being moved out of committee. 

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