Big growers shouldn’t take over medical pot industry in Michigan

A bi-partisan effort that’s catching fire, so to speak, in the state Legislature, will make it harder for large-scale medical marijuana growers to elbow out small producers.

In 2016, lawmakers approved a measure to regulate and tax the medical marijuana trade in the state of Michigan.

According to one source, estimated sales of medical marijuana total $711 million annually.

Under the 2016 measure, three grow operation categories were created: Class A — up to 500 plants, Class B — between 501 and 1,000 plants and Class C — between 1,001-1,500 plants.

Here’s the problem, and what sparked the more recent burst of political bi-partisanship in Lansing. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs rules set up in September allow big-ticket growers to get as many Class C licenses as they wanted and consolidate their operations in one spot, the Associated Press reported.

The bill introduced last week would limit growers to only two licenses at a single medical marijuana facility and would only allow one grower to operate a facility, AP stated.

“LARA is trying to make guidelines in conjunction with what they thought the intention of the Legislature was,” bill sponsor and state Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, said in an AP story. “But with this, you could end up with a small group of operators who could have hundreds of licenses that could result in hundreds of thousands of plants in one facility.”

Whether you agree or disagree with medical marijuana being legal, it’s a fact of life in the state of Michigan.

That the state Legislature is taking steps to insure it is handled fairly makes sense to us.

We hope the bill gets a fair hearing.