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Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Licenses

medical marijuana

State leadership used Accela's Civic Solution for Cannabis to process the applications

This month Michigan achieved a major milestone in cannabis regulation with the release of its first set of medical marijuana licenses.

On July 12 the state's Medical "Marihuana" Licensing Board granted licenses to four large grow and transport operations based in Chesaning, Ann Arbor and Lansing. Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) used Accela's Cannabis Solution to process the requests and the hundreds that are still more under review. The state estimates that medical marijuana will become a $700 million industry and a driver of economic development.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press Andrew Brisbo, the director of LARA's Bureau of Medical "Marihuana" Regulation said that the state is eager to begin the next phase of the regulatory process, issuing licenses to additional growers and testing facilities.

Issuing licenses to the testing facilities represents one of the last significant steps for growers to get their product to market and Brisbo said LARA is committed to reaching out to testing facilities to give them updates on the process as applications are reviewed. The state hopes that the first testing facility licenses will be issued next month by the board.

“We’re excited that we’ve actually approved the first license, so we can move forward,” Brisbo told the Free Press. “We continue to work with the few (testing labs) who are close in the process to try and get them licensed as well."

Companies receiving the first licenses to grow cannabis included VB Chesaning, Cannarbor and Arbor Kitchen. Capital Transport, a secure transporter based in Lansing, received the last license. The board also granted 16 businesses a preliminary approval to grow cannabis pending final approvals from their local communities.

In a previous announcement last month, Brisbo said Accela's Cannabis Solution had guided and supported the state as it developed processes to manage the emerging cannabis market. Brisbo said the technologies adaptability to accommodate changing laws and its 24-hour self-service portal to apply for licenses were key benefits of the solution.

“Accela offered an out-of-the-box solution for the essential back office and customer-facing functions we knew were essential for a successful launch,” Brisbo said. “The system allowed us to be creative in our approach to implementing our processes and adjusting on the fly as our knowledge of the [cannab industry grew."

As more medical marijuana licenses are granted, the state has also increased the number of debilitating conditions permitted for medical marijuana, approving 11 new conditions on July 9. Among these infirmities are Parkinson’s Disease, Autism, Arthritis, Tourette’s Syndrome and Chronic Pain. Previous conditions included other serious conditions such as post-traumatic stress, cancer, HIV and Crohn's Disease.

To learn more about cannabis regulation and Accela's Civic Solution for Cannabis watch the webinar Regulating Cannabis: Emerging Challenges & Best Practices in Enforcement, for details about emerging best practices and key challenges.

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