Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced a plan to phase out caregiver-sourced cannabis in its medical cannabis dispensaries. Effective immediately, licensed cannabis businesses may no longer purchase cannabis concentrates, cartridges or other infused products from caregivers in the state.
Cannabis flower is a different story—for now. The final day for caregiver-sourced cannabis flower transfers will be Sept. 30. Between now and then, the state will impose certain regulatory rules on how to track cannabis flower inventory purchased from caregivers. Along the way, growers and processors will be mandated to decrease the amount of cannabis flower they purchase from those sources.
“The flower is what there was a huge shortage of, and the caregivers kind of filled that gap so to speak,” Jordan Ezell, owner of Interlochen Alternative Health, told Michigan’s 9 & 10 News.
Read the full advisory bulletin below.
“We have always put patients first when we make decisions regarding medical marijuana,” MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said in a public statement. “This phase out process is an important next step in implementing the will of Michigan voters and making sure that patients continue to have access to their medicine.”
Last spring, the question of supply and demand in the Michigan medical cannabis market spurred a debate over whether to allow longtime “caregivers” to sell products into the newly regulated marketplace. For years, Michigan had something closer to a gray-market cannabis setup, where caregivers would provide home-grown cannabis to registered patients. That changed in 2016, when state lawmakers developed a plan to license and regulated medical cannabis dispensaries. In 2018, voters approved a regulated adult-use market. But caregivers were left out in the cold, and licensed cannabis products were on short supply.
To continue the growth of the newly licensed market, Michigan regulators eventually allowed the state’s approximately 36,000 caregivers to sell their products to licensed growers and processors that would then test the caregiver-sourced cannabis before selling into the retail space.
According to mlive.com, the ratio of cannabis flower grown by licensed business and then sold in the state’s licensed marketplace has increased from 2.4% in November 2018 to 38.2% in January 2020. The rest of what’s been sold in dispensaries has come from caregivers—a significant majority of a market that serves more than 267,000 registered patients.