Michigan Governor To Review Cannabis Regulatory Agency, Tribal Business Bills

October 10, 2023 · High Times

Two cannabis bills were recently sent to the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and if passed, would work in tandem to allow the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) to do business with local Native American cannabis businesses, and vice versa.

Currently, state licensed cannabis and tribal cannabis businesses must operate separately from one another and cannot trade or do business with one another. Senate Bill 179 and Senate Bill 180 would permit these two distinct parts of the industry to interact.

“According to committee testimony, the marijuana industry regulated by the CRA and businesses operated by tribal members on tribal lands are currently in two separate silos, meaning that product cannot be sold between these businesses,” the analysis stated. “The bills are intended to allow for the sale of product between the two types of businesses while maintaining a level playing field by requiring tribal businesses to pay the same tax rate as other businesses.”

SB-180, sponsored by Sen. Roger Hauck, would allow the CRA to enter into an agreement with a Native American tribe “regarding marijuana-related regulatory issues that involve the interests of Michigan and the Indian tribe, including those related to the commercial growing, processing, sale, testing, transportation, and possession of marijuana.” Tribal businesses would be exempt from the 10% state excise tax on cannabis but would instead implement a tribal tax of 10% instead.

It also includes a section clearly stating that it is not unlawful to conduct these agreements. “The act currently provides that certain acts performed by licensees are not unlawful; not an offense; not grounds for seizing or forfeiting property; not grounds for arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner; not grounds for search or inspection except as authorized by the act; and not grounds to deny any other right or privilege.”

SB-179, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin, amends state law to give a portion of state cannabis tax revenue to tribes who allow state licensed cannabis business on their land. “The bill would provide that, if a marijuana retailer or microbusiness is located in Indian lands, the portions of the unexpended balances attributable to the marijuana retailer or microbusiness that would otherwise have been allocated to a municipality and a county as described above must instead be allocated to the Indian tribe in whose Indian lands the marijuana retailer or microbusiness is located.”

Both SB-180 and SB-179 must be passed in order for them to take effect. The Native American tribes in support of this include the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa IndiansSaginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, as well as the CRA, Common Citizen (a Michigan-based cannabis brand), and Michigan Cannabis Industry Authority.

Numerous other cannabis- or psychedelic-related bills have also been working through the legislature recently. In July, the Michigan Civil Service Commission adopted a rule to stop cannabis drug screenings for most state government employees. Commission member Nick Ciaramitaro explained that it’s long overdue to implement the new rule. “Whether or not we agree with it or not is kind of beyond the point,” said Ciaramitaro. “Use of marijuana on the job is different than having used it months before you take the test … It doesn’t make sense to limit our ability to hire qualified people because they took a gummy two weeks ago.” The rule took place starting on Oct. 1.

In September, Michigan legislators passed a resolution and asked congress, the Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs to “prioritize research and investment in non-technology treatment options for servicemembers and veterans who have psychological trauma as a result of military service.”

The resolution also addresses how “effective treatment options for these conditions vary from servicemember to servicemember” when it comes to psychedelic treatments. 

It also adds the importance of supporting veterans’ family members as well, stating that “resources should be made available to help them understand and assist their loved ones who may be suffering from psychological trauma. Family members of servicemembers or veterans with behavioral health problems may experience family violence and aggression, lower parenting satisfaction, and child behavior problems.”

new bill introduced earlier this month focuses on cannabis for students kindergarten through 12th grade. If passed, it would allow cannabis to be on campus for medical use, as long as two medical professionals have provided written permission. Additionally, teachers would oversee administering the medicine.

In August, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency reported cannabis revenue was at record-highs, having collected $276 million in sales for the month of July. Despite high sales numbers, many cannabis businesses have reported low profits. National Cannabis Industry Association’s senior economist, Beau Whitney, explained the effects of new licenses being approved, creating endless competition. “It’s kind of a race to the bottom, as they call it,” said Whitney. “Prices are going down, down and down because there’s so much competition, but at some point, prices won’t be able to go down any further.”  (Full Story)

In category:Business
Next Post

Cannabis Companies Could Be Sitting on Billions of Dollars in Tax Refund Credits from the IRS if 280E Gets Eliminated

Did the cannabis company thread the needle on paying federal taxes to the US government?  As Cannabis.net wrote up in their summary of the Benzinga Cannabis Conference in Miami, many cannnabis companies weren't paying their federal taxes, hence propping up their reported…
Previous Post

Sacramento City Council Meeting ‘Delves Into Chaos’ After Closing 11-Acre Pot Farm

A large cannabis operation with 22 buildings spanning over 11 acres must temporarily cease operations as hundreds of employees are fighting for their jobs, culminating in a chaotic Sacramento City Council meeting. Law enforcement officials ordered Natura to close on…
Random Post

Judge Tosses Humboldt Class Action Lawsuit Against County’s Cannabis Cultivation Fines

A U.S. magistrate judge has thrown out the class action lawsuit filed by landowners in Humboldt County, California who claimed the county fined them hundreds of thousands of dollars – without an investigation or opportunity to defend themselves – for…
Random Post

California lawmakers send wide-ranging cannabis bills to governor

California lawmakers approved several cannabis bills during their recently concluded session, including legislation to help social equity entrepreneurs and consumption lounge operators – plus a measure to impose major limits on labeling. Gov. Gavin Newsom has until midnight Oct. 14…
Random Post

House Approves Veterans Medical Marijuana Access And Psychedelics Research Amendments As Part Of Spending Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved amendments to a large-scale spending bill that would allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical cannabis to military veterans and promote research into substances like psilocybin and MDMA. Just…
Random Post

Lawmakers And Advocates Celebrate Marijuana Reform Legacy Of Retiring Congressman Blumenauer, Pledging To Carry His Work Forward

After a half century advocating for marijuana reform—including 27 years representing Oregon’s 3rd district in Congress—Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced on Monday that he will not be seeking reelection next year. The congressman, a founding co-chair of the Cannabis Caucus…