We have previously written on how amendments to Michigan’s Administrative Procedures Act have given greater power to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). As the State develops regulations to implement the new Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), JCAR can exercise significant influence on the content of those regulations.

Not since the 1990’s, and the creation of rules to govern the advent of commercial casino gaming, has Michigan promulgated comprehensive regulations for a whole industry. Given legislative term limits, none of the members of JCAR were involved in that process. But who exactly are the members of JCAR, and what is their background when it comes to marijuana policy?

JCAR is comprised of five State Senators and five State Representatives, three Republicans and two Democrats from each chamber. The chairmanship of JCAR alternates between chambers each session, with Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) now serving as chair. This week, House Speaker Tom Leonard announced the appointment of Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) to replace now-former Rep. Brian Banks (D-Detroit), who resigned last week. That brought JCAR to its full complement of ten members. Today, we provide background on the House members of JCAR:

  • Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland): representing conservative Allegan and Kent Counties, Chairman Johnson is a freshman representative with no prior state government experience. He’s an Air Force veteran, who touts his Christian beliefs as providing guidance for his decision making. Of note to those in the marijuana industry who have a libertarian bent, Chairman Johnson is a co-sponsor of a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee that electronic data and communications are secure from unreasonable and warrantless search and seizure.
  • Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron): representing Port Huron and Lake Huron lakeshore communities to the north, Rep. Hernandez is also a freshman representative with no prior state government experience. A self-described conservative Republican, he has been the vice president of an architectural firm. He too is a co-sponsor of the proposed state constitutional amendment to protect electronic data and communications.
  • John Reilly (R-Oakland Township): represents northern portions of Oakland County. After 20 years in automotive test engineering, Rep. Reilly started his own home services business, which he has run for over a decade. He, too, is a freshman representative with no prior state government experience. A father and grandfather, he has already begun to focus on education matters.
  • Andy Schor (D-Lansing): represents the City of Lansing. Unlike his Republican counterparts, Rep. Schor is in his final term in the State House and has a track record on medical marijuana, having voted in favor of both the MMFLA and legislation allowing for infused products. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Rep. Schor served in the administration of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and for ten years as an Ingham County Commissioner. Rep. Schor is widely reported to be considering a challenge to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in this year’s city elections. With Lansing having become an epicenter of marijuana dispensaries, he may have a keen interest in this rulemaking process.
  • Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield): Representing Southfield, Rep. Moss is in his second term. He voted in favor of both the MMFLA and the infused products legislation last session, during which he served as vice chair of the Local Government Committee. Prior to his election to the House, Rep. Moss served on the Southfield City Council.

With three of the House members of JCAR being freshmen, they do not have a track record with respect to medical marijuana, meaning advocates will need to educate them on Michigan’s history with the associated issues, and the intent behind the MMFLA and infused products bill. As we will see in our next post, this stands in marked contrast to the Senate members of JCAR.