Frequently Asked Questions
Our experience talking with people about our company has taught us that most people are confused about cannabis and about how things are changing. We hope to help alleviate at least some of that confusion by providing this list of questions that we are commonly asked, and the research behind the answers we commonly give.
Michigan is following the path of other states by creating its own regulated cannabis industry, and with this means change. But since other states have already gone through this process, we can learn from their experience and there is an increasing amount of evidence that cannabis legalization is working.
There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information available about cannabis, and it can be hard to know what to believe. To counter that, all of the information below is linked to the source evidence that support our answers. Many are publications from respected academic journals presenting results from the most recent rigorous scientific research through the peer-review process.
We are committed to supporting an open and honest conversation about cannabis, the industry, and how they impact individuals and communities. If we haven't answered a question you have, please submit your question here so we can continue to provide high-quality information that addresses your concerns.
What are the cannabis laws in Michigan?
In 2008, 63% of Michigan’s voters approved the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), which allows qualifying patients to grow their own cannabis plants or to get cannabis from a registered caregiver. The MMMA does not provide many specifics on how to implement the intention of the act and there is a lot of uncertainty for patients and caregivers regarding how to stay within the law.
To help remedy this reality, on September 21, 2016, Michigan took the first steps to establishing a framework for regulating its developing medical cannabis industry when it enacted Public Act 281, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), which authorizes the state to license and regulate the growing, processing, transporting, testing, and provisioning of medical cannabis. The newly authorized Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR) is currently drafting permanent rules to be completed in 2018, and released emergency rules in December 2017 to govern the industry until then. The state began accepting applications for licenses on December 15, 2017.
On November 6th, 2018 Michigan voters approved an adult-use law called the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. On December 6, 2018 it became legal for adults 21 years and older to possess, grow, and consume cannabis. Legal sales will only occur through a licensed business, which won't exist until 2020. The State has until December 6, 2019 to begin accepting applications for licenses for adult-use cannabis businesses.
What role do local governments (cities, townships and villages) have in deciding what cannabis businesses operate within their jurisdiction?
Local governments play a big role. There are 1773 local governments in Michigan and both the medical and adult-use laws allow each of them to decide for themselves if and how they want to be involved with the new cannabis industry.
For the medical cannabis facilities, if the local government does not want cannabis companies, they can bar all operations by simply doing nothing. If they want cannabis companies, they need to pass new ordinances allowing them. The opposite it true for the adult-use facilities. Local governments need to actively adopt a resolution opting out of allowing them to keep them out of their jurisdiction. If they want them, the can choose to do nothing or can adopt ordinances regulating them.
Local governments can decide on any combination of how many and which kinds of facilities they want. There are five types – cultivation facilities that grow cannabis, processing facilities that create extracts and edible products, provisioning center that sell cannabis products directly to patients, testing facilities, and secure transportation facilities.
Why would a local government want to participate in the new cannabis industry?
The Michigan Township Association states: Some communities accept medical marijuana use for compassionate reasons, and believe that the MMFLA will better facilitate the spirit and the actual practice of the patient-caregiver relationship authorized by the statewide initiative that created the MMMA in 2008.
Other communities may be responding to a real demand or broad support locally for providing medical marijuana facilities and business opportunities.
And, it may be a revenue source through administrative fees, property taxes, and state shared revenue.
What are the health benefits & risks of consuming cannabis?
The Science Daily reports "Medical cannabis provides immediate symptom relief across dozens of health symptoms with relatively minimal negative side effects." This is because cannabis works with our Endocannabinoid System, our body's mechanism for regulating every metabolic process. "The most frequent reported side effects being positive (relaxed, peaceful, comfy) and the least frequent side effects being negative (paranoid, confused, headache)."
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that there are no known cases around the globe of a death being caused by cannabis consumption.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Humans have an Endocannabinoid system that is responsible for maintaining internal homeostasis or balance throughout our bodies and regulates all of our metabolic processes. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids that are responsible for maintaining our balanced, and health problems can cause an imbalance.
Endocannabinoid receptors also respond to dozens of cannabinoid compounds present in the cannabis plant and have a vast spectrum of medicinal effects that science is increasingly recognizing. For instance, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a study this year that found evidence that cannabis is effective treatment for chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, PTSD, and inflammation.
Green Flower Media provides free access to their high-quality videos if you are interested in learning much more about it.
Does cannabis have long-term negative effects on youth or adult brains?
The Journal of Neuroscience published a study showing there are no associations between cannabis use and changes in sub-cortical structures in adolescents or adults. The article acknowledges that cannabis can have short-term effect on learning and memory, but that, "it seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol."
How has legal cannabis affected other states?
The effects of legal cannabis on other states have been overwhelmingly positive. US News and World Reports reported that the predicted "dooms day" that was predicted in Colorado has not occurred. "Evidence from Colorado shows that marijuana legalization does not lead to increased teen usage, does not lead to increased homelessness, and does not lead to societal breakdown."
PHYS.org reports that, "studies have shown that cannabis legalization can cause an increase in heavy marijuana use, but also show a reduction in other acts including drunk driving, heroin usage and opioid addiction."
How does legal cannabis affect law enforcement and crime?
The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization found that legal cannabis is not associated with an uptick of overall criminal activity. The report stated concern that legal cannabis will increase crime "is not justified."
In fact, the Police Quarterly recently reported that the cannabis legalization is freeing up law enforcement to focus on violent crimes, property crimes, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, which leads to increasing public safety.
Do teenagers use more cannabis when it is legalized?
Several studies show that cannabis legalization has not increased teenagers' use. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cannabis use among Colorado teens dropped from 21.2% in 2015 to 19.6% in 2017, which is now below the national average of 19.8%. According to the California Healthy Kids Survey, teen cannabis use plummeted after legalization. Prevention Science recently published findings showing that there is no uptick in teen use in areas where cannabis is legal.
Does legal cannabis increase fatal car accidents?
The National Bureau of Economic Research found no causal relationship between cannabis legalization and an increased in fatal car accidents. Plus, National Public Radio reports that there are no reliable DUI tests for cannabis, which makes measuring the number of cannabis-related car accidents nearly impossible.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study showing that legalized cannabis was, "associated with immediate reductions in traffic fatalities in those aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 years, and with additional yearly gradual reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years."
How does legal cannabis affect the opioid crisis?
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that legal cannabis is associated with a reduction of opioid prescriptions.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study showing a decline in opioid-related deaths in states like Colorado where both medical and adult-use marijuana are available. The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates a 24.8% drop in opioid-related deaths in places that legalize cannabis.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence reports that legal cannabis results in reduced opioid related hospitalizations and no changes for cannabis-related hospitalizations.
How much tax revenue will legal cannabis generate and what will it go towards?
Retailers will collect a 3% excise tax on cannabis sales, which is estimated to generate $21.3 million the first year according to the Michigan House Bill Analysis, Fiscal Agency (9/23/16). The MMFLA allocates those funds as follows:
· 25% divided among municipalities, depending upon how many licenses are granted.
· 30% to counties where facilities are located, depending upon how many licenses are granted.
· 5% to those counties' Sheriff Departments
· 30% to First Responders
· 5% on law enforcement training
· 5% to the State Police department
Retailers will also collect Michigan's 6% sales tax, which is estimated to generate another $42.7 million in the first year. It is projected that $31.3 million will go to the School Aid Fund.
Other relevant recent studies:
Work place safety:
The International Journal of Drug Policy states that cannabis legalization is associated with a decrease in workplace fatalities.
The Journal of Addictive Disease found that cannabis use is not positively associated with elevated rates of workplace accidents or injury.
An economic team at Hillsdale College in Michigan concluded that the cannabis industry could potentially generate an estimated 10,000 new jobs in Michigan in the early years of implementation and that "some, if not many, of these jobs could go to people who are hard to employ or otherwise unemployable."
Property Values in Michigan:
Forbes believes legalizing cannabis in Michigan will result in higher property values, including home prices.