Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist signed 2 marijuana bills into law — and other pot news you can use

Feb 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm
click to enlarge Garlin Gilchrist II. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Garlin Gilchrist II.

Once marijuana was legalized in Michigan, concern over weed laws took a back seat to more pertinent questions, like "When can I go to the store and buy some?"

The legal wheels of marijuana continue to grind and will for quite some time, and those legal moves now define how and under what conditions we experience marijuana — the business of marijuana so to speak. Here are a few legal things that aren't earth-shattering, but they're worth noting.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II has signed two marijuana-related bills into law. HB 4126 (Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell) requires the Marijuana Regulatory Agency to create a warning on marijuana packaging for women who are pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or breastfeeding. HB 4127 (Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City) requires the MRA to establish informational pamphlet standards and for marijuana establishments to make such pamphlets available to patrons.

Introduced but not yet voted on is HB 5490 (Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Portage), which allows a court-appointed representative of a license holder to own and operate a medical marijuana facility.

Other than the fact that I didn't know the Lt. Gov. got to sign bills, this stuff is basically boilerplate. California calls marijuana a "reproductive toxicant" and requires a pregnancy warning. Whether you agree with that or not, it will be on the labels. Regarding the informational pamphlets, I'm guessing it will be more about warning against potential problems, real or imagined, than anything else.

There is also a big legal ruling that is only tangentially related to marijuana, but worthy of note. In 2018, right after voters legalized marijuana in a citizen ballot initiative process, the lame-duck legislature passed a law making it harder to launch successful initiatives. A couple of weeks back, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down the law, which specified that no more than 15% of signatures could come from any one congressional district, required petitioners to verify whether they were paid or volunteer, and for the petitions to display that information. The court struck down all three requirements, ruling that they impose unconstitutional burdens.

In 2018, citizen ballot initiatives helped to legalize marijuana, form an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative districts to combat gerrymandering, and amend the state constitution to make it easier for people to vote.

It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.