An association comprising some of Michigan’s largest cannabis companies is taking aim at the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) months after a 64,000-pound recall that was worth nearly $230 million.
The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturing Association (MCMA) is calling for greater cannabis safety enforcement mechanisms following reports that MRA agents said they had been instructed to ignore illicit cannabis discovered at licensed facilities, MLive.com reported.
The agent testimonies are tied to complaints by Viridis Laboratories, the state’s largest cannabis testing lab, which accused MRA of playing politics in a November 2021 lawsuit that stems from the recall, which involved products that Viridis tested.
“In a letter to state lawmakers, the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association today (Feb. 23) called for greater cannabis safety enforcement following media reports of Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency agents testifying under oath they had been instructed by the agency to leave behind untested, illicit cannabis discovered at MRA-licensed facilities,” MCMA said in statement provided to MLive.com.
The MRA agents claimed they lack the authority to take immediate action when they encounter what they suspect to be illegal cannabis during on-site inspections, the news outlet reported. Only law enforcement officials can seize the products, and their response times vary, according to MRA enforcement supervisor Brian Hanna.
“The MRA agent depositions also highlight the urgent need to pass the bipartisan Michigan Cannabis Safety Act that helps ensure all cannabis in Michigan is tested, tracked, labeled, licensed and taxed,” the MCMA statement read.
The Michigan Cannabis Safety Act is a legislative package that encompasses multiple bills that aim to amend the state’s 2008 voter-approved Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Among many provisions, the package would tighten rules for specialty growers and registered caregivers as it relates to product testing, transfers, where they can grow and much they can grow.
Rep. Jim Lilly, who sponsors one of the bills in the package, said in an October release, “The Michigan Cannabis Safety Act leaves the door open for unlicensed marijuana growers to enter the licensed market legitimately. The legislation, House Bills 5300-5302 and 5319-5321, creates a new specialty medical grower license for current unlicensed marijuana growers.”
Currently, medical marijuana caregivers must register with the state but don’t need a license.
While MCMA has promoted the laws written into the legislative package as needed safety mechanisms for the state’s market, some medical caregivers view it as a corporate effort to cut plant counts, require product testing and reduce homegrown cultivation.
The bills, currently in the House Regulatory Reform Committee, have not advance since October 2021.