Although you won't find it announced in any press release or on the government's website, big changes are being proposed for Michigan's Medical Marihuana Program (MMP) by the government agency charged with overseeing the state's 150,000 registered participants.
Changes to the language of the medical marijuana Act must be approved through the legislature- and those proposals require a supermajority vote in both the House and Senate. That's a tough path to travel, so the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) proposes to manipulate the Administrative Rules instead.
LARA submitted the proposed changes for the MMP to the Secretary of State earlier this year, along with a Regulatory Impact Statement and Cost-Benefit Analysis.
Some of the proposed changes include making Michigan's MMP the first in the nation to go completely electronic and refuse any paper applications; discarding all discounted rates on MMP registration fees given to Medicaid and SSI recipients; reducing the 2-year fee from $100 to $60; changing the composition of the New Conditions Panel, giving them 4-year terms, and cutting public input on adding new illnesses from 60 days to just 5; establish new registration fees for caregivers; eliminating many of the acceptable forms of personal identification, including military identification, tribal identification and Permanent resident alien identification cards.
Changes are proposed for every section of the current Administrative Rules, and some sections are set to be eliminated completely, but the biggest change will be the abandoning of paperwork in the registration process. The change to a paperless system is driven from the Department's failure to adequately process paper applications and change forms in the past, and the Impact Statement carries this phrase: "There are no other states that explicitly require, or to the Department's knowledge, utilize an electronic registration system."
The Department also recognizes that this will not be satisfactory for those who are not computer-savvy, including the elderly, the disabled and the poor. "Residents of rural areas with inconsistent internet service may complain about needing to submit applications online," the Impact Statement acknowledges.
A Public Hearing to discuss the proposed changes will take place on Wednesday, July 16 at 2PM in the G. Mennen Williams Building, 525 W Ottawa at Pine Street.
View the proposed changes to the Administrative Rules, dated May 22, HERE.
Read the Impact Statement HERE.
More information about the proposed changes will be available through The Compassion Chronicles in the days leading up to the hearing.