After September 15, Can I Still be a Caregiver?

The Bureau of Medical marijuana Regulation is standing firm on their position that all cannabis facilities that are not licensed by the State under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, will need to close down, and will get a cease and desist letter at that time. While the centers are not mandated to close down, the State Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has made clear that any facility that continues to run after receipt of the cease and desist will very likely not be given a license. Further, the State has set forth proposed Final Rules concerning Medical Marihuana Facilities licensing, which is going to allow or registered qualifying clients to get house deliveries from provisioning centers (with restriction, of course) and will certainly additionally allow online ordering. So, where does that leave registered caregivers, that were anticipating to be able to continue to be relevant to their clients up until 2021?

Traditional

The old model for registered caregivers was pretty simple. You were permitted to grow up to twelve plants for each patient. You could have 5 clients, besides yourself. If the caregiver was also a client, they could likewise grow twelve plants for personal use too. So, a caregiver could grow a total amount of seventy-two marihuana plants. The majority of caregivers created far more usable marihuana from those plants than they could make use of for clients and individual use. The caregivers would then sell their excess product to medical marihuana dispensaries.

Under the emergency rules, marihuana dispensaries that were running with municipal authorization, but that had not obtained a State license were allowed to continue running as well as purchasing from registered caregivers. Those facilities were allowed to buy caregiver excess for thirty days after receiving their State license for supply. That meant considerable revenues for caregivers as well as significant supply for dispensaries.

After September 15, 2018

The problems for registered caregivers only starts on September 15, 2018. All State licensed centers that will continue to be open and operating can not buy any type of product from caregivers. State Licensed Provisioning Centers, but statute and administrative rules are strictly forbidden from acquiring or selling any item that is not produced by a State Licensed Grower or Processor that has actually had their product tested and certified by a State Licensed Safety Compliance Facility. Any State Licensed Provisioning Center that is found to have product for sale that is not from a State Licensed Cultivator or Processor is subject to State sanctions on their license, including temporary or irreversible cancellation of the license. Given the threat, licensed centers are extremely unlikely to risk purchasing from a caregiver, given the prospective repercussions.

Even more, the unlicensed facilities to whom caregivers have been continuing to sell to, even throughout the licensing process, will be shutting down. Some might continue to run, but given the State’s stance on facilities that do not adhere to their cease and desist letters being looked at very unfavorably in the licensing process, the market will be seriously lessened, if not eliminated. Because of this, caregivers will not have much recourse for selling their overages, as well as will certainly be limited only to their current clients.

New Administrative Rules

A hearing will be held on September 17, 2018 relating to the new proposed final administrative rules for the regulation of medical marihuana facilities, which will become effective in November, when the emergency rules stop being effective. Those final proposed administrative rules permit house delivery by a provisioning center, and will also permit managed online buying. Those two things eliminate much of the role contemplated by caregivers under the brand-new rules. Clients would certainly still require them to head to the provisioning center to pick up and deliver marijuana to patients that were too sick or who were impaired and can not get to those licensed centers to acquire their medical cannabis. With this adjustment to the administrative rules, such patients will no longer need a caregiver. They will be able to place an order online and have the provisioning center deliver it to them, basically eliminating the necessity of a caregiver.

Conclusion

For better or worse, the State is doing everything it can to remove caregivers under the brand-new administrative system, even before the prepared elimination in 2021 contemplated by the MMFLA. There are a great deal of factors the State could be doing it, but that is of little comfort to caregivers. The bottom line is, the State is eliminating the caregiver model, and they are moving that process along with celerity. The State is sending the message that they want caregivers out of the industry immediately, and they are establishing rules to ensure that occurs sooner rather than later. The caregiver model, while valuable and needed under the old Michigan Medical Marihuana Act structure, are currently going the way of the Dodo. Like everything else, the Marihuana legislations are evolving, and some things that have flourished in the past, won’t make it to see the new legalized era.