Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday that establishes the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
Gretchen's office said the new agency combines previous authorities, functions, and duties into a "modernized process which allows for LARA to more efficiently regulate medical marijuana and apply this expertise to recreational marijuana as well."
"This executive order will eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients,” said Whitmer. “All elements of this Agency have been designed to serve and better protect Michigan residents, and I’m eager to have a unified effort across state departments to make sure this process runs effectively and efficiently. I appreciate the productive input I’ve received on this important issue, including from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.”
A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was passed on the ballot in November, 10 years after Michigan voted to legalize medical marijuana.
Executive Order 2019-7 addresses matters related to both recreational and medical marijuana:
- Creating the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (the “Agency”) within LARA, responsible for administering laws related to medical and recreational marijuana.
- Appointing an executive director who will run the Agency.
- The appointed director will provide annual financial disclosures and is subject to advice and consent, along with a four-year employment restriction.
- The Agency will be the primary decision maker and will hold four public meetings each year in which they will hear complaints while providing information on the administration of the authorities, powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities vested in the Agency by this order or otherwise by law.
- Abolishing the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation and the Marihuana Licensing Board.
“The EO 2019-7 eliminating the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board is a step in the right direction to advance this regulated industry and to make Michigan a leader in this space. The volunteer Board took on a monumental lift to get this program going, but in the short time frame the program has been running, we have not seen the expected volume of licensees entering the market,” said Shelly Edgerton, attorney at Dykema. “With this EO, the licensing process will be more efficient and allow more applicants into the space. I applaud Governor Whitmer for recognizing the need to expedite the regulated market for patient care and safety.”