Learning more about the legalization of Marijuana

LANSING — The state of Michigan is still tying up some loose ends with it’s legislation regarding the recent legalization of marijuana and while medical dispensaries transition into recreational retailers, a Chamber of Commerce has been formed specifically for the states recreational industry.

A little more than a month ago Michigan voters took to the polls with a majority in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state. Last week that law went into effect allowing persons over the age of 21 to possess, grow, and consume the plant in their home or in a private setting, however buying and selling still remains against the law while legislation is being written.

“Just as the other 25 or 30 states on the medicinal side have had to do, what do we do with these businesses? How do we regulate? How do we license? How do we keep the public safe, and at the same time allow people access? Throwing recreational in at this point is difficult but it is what the voters chose so we’re moving forward,” said Matt Miner, a lobbyist with the Great Lakes Cannibus Chamber of Commerce.

Just as legalization of medical marijuana presented an abundance of dispensaries in municipalities that allowed them, like his hometown of Lansing, the change in Michigan’s Cannabis law brings opportunities for some.

“Right now we are transitioning from the dispensaries that we’ve seen for the last 6 or 8 years, some of those becoming legal and licensed by the locals and state governments, transitioning further into what the state does with recreational marijuana,” said Miner. “That’s going to be ever developing in the next two years.”

One thing the new law also presented was some confusion. Last week many expected to legally purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries like Northern Specialty Health in Houghton, who still operates as a medical dispensary but were surprised to find out that those facilities are still only permitted to to sell their products to Medical Cardholders.

“What it takes is time and experience and figuring out. That’s something I think is just a process we’re going to have to go through.”

The City of Hancock recently took a Council vote to wait a while before allowing marijuana related business from opening, but will revisit the topic after reviewing what other cities and towns have encountered.

Although it may be a while before a person can just walk into the store and buy some weed anywhere in the state, Matt’s organization is preparing for that.

“We work primarily to advocate on behalf of the legal industry and the businesses that are participating. We do education and outreach. We do networking, and we do other business and industry promotions. Our website is www.glccoc.com. You can reach us on there. We have a page where you can sign up and ask for more information.”