New organization advocates for marijuana businesses


There is a new alliance to advocate for the interests of both recreational and medical marijuana businesses in Michigan.

The Michigan Cannabis Industry Association was established Jan. 15 to address the challenges associated with the medical marijuana business licensing process and to educate businesses and consumers of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ rules and regulations for new marijuana businesses and consumers.

“Michigan has an opportunity to become a national leader in developing a successful and responsible cannabis industry, and the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association will bring all aspects of the state’s newly emerging cannabis industry together to speak as a united voice,” said Robin Schneider, MCIA executive director.

MCIA has more than 60 members across the state who are either licensed medical marijuana business owners, potential licensed medical marijuana business owners, legal counsels or representatives of accounting firms and office supply companies that provide services to marijuana businesses, according to Josh Hovey, communications director at MCIA. The nonprofit will eventually have 13 members on its executive board.

The organization also will focus on the supply shortage facing medical marijuana patients in the state. Last month, the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board voted to temporarily reopen some marijuana operating facilities within municipalities that had an authorizing ordinance in place by Dec. 15, 2017, applied for a license before Feb. 15, 2018 and notified the department within one business day of becoming aware of any adverse reaction to a marijuana product sold or transferred.

The operating facilities will remain open until March 31 to help maintain patient access to medical marijuana without disciplinary action.

“With almost no access left to medicine for patients and empty shelves in our members’ facilities, solutions need to be put in place immediately that allow patients to obtain their medicine,” Schneider said. “We look forward to working with state regulators and Gov. Whitmer’s administration to ensure a successful medical marijuana program and to develop long-term strategies that will improve and expedite the business licensing process moving forward.”

There are numerous discounts for different types of members who join the association. Payments to become ancillary business members, industry members, sustaining members and founding members range from $100 to $4,200 per month.

Hovey said the MCIA will be having quarterly membership meetings where members can share professional development practices and ideas. MCIA also will offer networking opportunities and discounts for MCIA events.

The MCIA was launched shortly after Michigan citizens voted to legalize recreational marijuana. The new law prohibits law enforcement from arresting individuals 21 and older who personally possess less than 2½ ounces of marijuana, 10 ounces in a locked container at home and 12 marijuana plants in their home.

“Voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 1 last year, but there are still a lot of details that need to be worked out,” Schneider said. “The MCIA will work to ensure state policymakers incorporate the lessons learned from the missteps in the medical marijuana licensing process as they develop rules for adult use marijuana businesses. We will also be an advocate to ensure that business opportunities are available to communities that have been most impacted by marijuana’s prohibition, as is required by law under Proposal 1.”

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