On July 20, 2017, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (the “Department”) filed Requests for Rulemaking under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”), 2016 PA 281, and the Marihuana Tracking Act, 2016 PA 282 with Michigan’s Office of Regulatory Reinvention (“ORR”). On Tuesday, August 8, these RFRs were approved.

Michigan law provides the ORR with authority to approve Requests for Rulemaking “only after it has indicated in its response to the request for rule-making submitted by an agency that there are appropriate and necessary policy and legal bases for approving the request for rule-making.” MCL 24.239(3). Because the MMFLA explicitly requires the Department to promulgate rules, MCL 333.27206, and because the Marihuana Tracking Act requires the Department to establish a statewide tracking system, there was little doubt the requisite “appropriate and necessary policy and legal bases for approving the request for rule-making” existed.

This approval was a necessary first step. But the work is just beginning. Now that the RFR has been approved, proposed rules may be drafted and submitted to ORR, a “Small Business Impact Statement” and a “Regulatory Impact Statement” must be prepared, public hearings held, and the rules reviewed by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

The entire rulemaking process will unfold over a number of months. As we have reported previously, there simply is not time for this process to conclude before applications for licensure can be submitted December 15 of this year. Consequently, the Department will need to issue emergency rules to govern the industry during the time before permanent rules are fully promulgated.

As we reported last week, the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board has set a public meeting for August 21. We anticipate that more information about the rulemaking process may be announced at that time.

Clearly, there is a lot of work left to do, and this week’s approval of the Request for Rulemaking is just the start. Stay with us as the rulemaking process continues to unfold.