Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed House Bill 4295 into immediate effect on Thursday, November 4th, that will eliminate a medical marijuana business licensing ban for people with previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for marijuana.
H.B. 4295 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Alexander (R) and lists out eligibility standards for medical marijuana license applicants under review by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).
An applicant convicted of or released from incarceration within the past ten years for a felony under the laws of any state in the United States is not eligible for a business license for medical marijuana. The bill then states that “this subdivision does not apply to a felony for the manufacture, processing, or distribution of marihuana, or possession with the intent to manufacture, process, or distribute marihuana, unless the felony involved the distribution of marihuana to a minor.”
The business licensing restrictions were only applicable to the medical marijuana industry and not the state’s recreational adult-use market. According to Ganjapreneur, advocates have long argued that people of color were more likely affected and targeted by marijuana criminalization and saw the restrictions as discriminatory.
The medical marijuana licensing ban was also removed for employed or elected officials of a federally recognized Native American tribe. With these restrictions lifted, more people will have the ability to apply for the state’s medical marijuana business licenses and provide different kinds of containers full of marijuana products to residents of the Great Lakes State.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) under the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is responsible for overseeing and regulating the state’s cannabis businesses. In October, the MRA announced that they would begin managing delta 8 THC-derived products.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in May that establishes a process where people with low-level drug convictions can apply for a commutation of their sentences.