Coronavirus and Cannabis: Michigan Regulatory Updates

By Sahar Ayinehsazian and Kelsey Middleton

Mar 23, 2020

This VS Insight is dedicated to updates regarding the coronavirus and cannabis in Michigan. For updates on other states or coronavirus-related issues, see our main post on the subject, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Monitoring the Impact."

Cannabis regulations are in flux across the U.S. as officials at every level of government work to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Vicente Sederberg is closely monitoring the situation, and we are communicating with regulators to understand how these local, state and federal responses may affect cannabis business operators, medical patients, and other cannabis consumers. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our clients and the public updated as we learn of new developments, but please note this is an extremely fluid situation and there is a lot we do not know. This VS Insights post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney if you are seeking advice regarding any specific legal or tax issue.


LATEST UPDATES

March 23, 2020

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, effective March 24-April 13, 2020, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are inessential to sustain or protect life.

    • The order prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes unless they are deemed essential to protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Business and operations that are deemed essential must adopt social distancing practices and other preventative measures to protect essential workers and patrons.

    • Licensed medical marijuana facilities and licensed adult-use marijuana establishments may engage in regulated activities as authorized by the license-type issue. Provisioning centers and retailers may only conduct sales through curbside service or delivery. In-person transactions are expressly prohibited.

    • Licensees must adhere to social distancing requirements for staff within facilities and establishments and designate only as many employees as necessary to show up to work to cover supplies and provide services, and to maintain the value of the inventory.

March 18, 2020

  • MRA released an advisory bulletin that discusses the proactive steps MRA is taking to address building delays applicants will likely experience due to COVID-19. MRA indicates that they are temporarily extending the period of prequalification status for medical and adult-use marijuana businesses.

  • Beginning March 18, 2020, the prequalification status expiration dates for medical and adult-use applicants are extended for ninety days for the following:

    • Applications currently in prequalification status

    • Applications currently in an approved extension of prequalification status

    • All applications granted prequalification status during the next ninety days.

March 16, 2020

  • Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released an advisory bulletin regarding cannabis operations in light of the state governor’s Declaration of State of Emergency. Per the bulletin, cannabis operations are still permitted, subject to the following: 

    • Licensed provisioning centers and adult-use retailers are encouraged to provide home delivery services where applicable. The MRA must approve such delivery procedures and is attempting to review, process, and approve requests from licensees within 24-48 hours.

      • The MRA will temporarily allow the use of home delivery for patients and consumers with residential addresses not identified on their state ID cards.

    • The MRA will temporarily allow curbside pickups.

    • The MRA’s temporary accommodations will remain effective until another bulletin terminating such accommodations is distributed. 

  • MRA issued an additional advisory bulletin notifying licensees that MRA has amended the process by which an applicant may retrieve their license. Licenses will no longer be available for on-site pick up at MRA, but will instead be printed and mailed by certified mail on the next Tuesday or Friday following receipt of payment.

  • If a cannabis establishment is unable to record transactions into METRC for any reason, the licensee must record all transactions and the accompanying information for such transactions in either their own METRC-integrated third-party system or a stand-alone tracking system, per MRA guidance.