Brian Smith @ mlive.Com
LANSING — Medical marijuana dispensaries took another step toward returning to Michigan after a Senate committee sent two bills to the floor, but the Senate’s majority leader says the bills still need work.
Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said bills to add marijuana-laced foods to the definition of “medical marijuana” and for dispensaries to re-open could receive votes as soon as next month.
“We’re not going to move any bills until we’re ready,” Richardville said. “I think there will be a significant amount of work done between now and then.”
One proposal, House Bill 5104, would expand the state’s definition of “marijuana-infused product” to include beverages and food items that contain the drug’s active ingredient, although foods containing the drug would be exempted from the state’s food laws.
The Michigan Supreme Court held last year that “pot brownies” and other foods containing marijuana did not fall under the definition of “usable” marijuana in the voter-approved law.
The other bill approved by Richardville’s government operations committee would allow “provisioning centers” to sell marijuana to certified patients or caregivers, something not allowed under Michigan law as of now.
Cities and townships would have some authority to restrict where dispensaries could operate – restrictions Richardville supports.
“My concern has always been playgrounds and neighborhoods, and making sure there aren’t leakages into places where our vulnerable children live,” Richardville said. “That’s where my top concern is.”
Both bills have already passed the House, winning approval by wide, bipartisan margins last December.