Educational sessions Tuesday to discuss new medical marijuana regulations

There is an education session Tuesday in Kalamazoo for local business owners to learn about the new medical marijuana regulations in Michigan. (WWMT)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - West Michigan businesses are getting the chance to learn more about the new medical marijuana regulations in our state.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is hosting an educational session Tuesday to help explain the new procedures and licenses to local businesses.

A group of laws passed in 2016 overhauled the medical marijuana industry in Michigan. Then new law allows growers to grow more plants. It also creates five categories of licenses for growers, processors, transporters, dispensaries and testing facilities. State officials are also adding a tracking system to follow the process from grower to the finished product. All growers and dispensers will have to comply with the new regulations.

Andrew Brisbo, Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), says though attending an educational session is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged for anyone looking to apply for one of the five licenses so they can get up to speed with changes and new regulations.

“For those who know they want to get into the industry, it’s going to be very beneficial so they get an understanding of what’s going to be expected, when the time comes," said Brisbo. "And for those who aren’t sure what their approach is going to be, it may be a good way for them to gather information and start their decision making process.”

Under the new law, LARA is implementing a tracking system for the entire process. Brisbo says the tracking system is not a new concept, but will be used in a way where LARA will be tracking medical marijuana from growth and production all the way through its quality assurance testing and sale.

"This is going to track all their production, transfers and sales. It’s going to allow us to get a glimpse and see their inventory and what they’re doing day-to-day. These types of systems are used in other industries, but not necessarily from a regulatory perspective," said Brisbo.

The decision on whether or not to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate within their limits will be up to individual cities, villages and townships. The city of Kalamazoo said in September that they are waiting until LARA finalizes its licensing program.

Kalamazoo to postpone decision on medical marijuana until state finishes licensing program

Applications for licenses will be available December 15 in the state of Michigan.

Tuesday's event is happening at the Wings Conference Center on Vanrick Drive in Kalamazoo. It runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For those who cannot attend, the next session is in East Lansing Wednesday and will be live streamed on their website.

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