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October 18, 2018, Michigan
Some time ago, lawmakers of both chambers of the Michigan State Assembly unanimously approved a bill to ban use, possession, and sale of cannabis-infused alcohol drinks. The bill has now been ratified by Gov. Rick Snyder into law. With the ratification of this bill, Michigan has become a unique state to ban cannabis-infused drinks even without having adult-use cannabis legalization in place.
Michigan legalized the medicinal use of cannabis ten years ago. However, the state’s MMJ program couldn’t take off the way it was envisaged. Similarly, adult-use legalization also failed to get the required traction from lawmakers and masses alike.
But after a long period of dormancy on the cannabis front, the ongoing year has become quite happening for the state in connection with cannabis reforms. To start with, Michiganders have finally got the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana through a public ballot. Secondly, the state regulators have moved to clear their logjam by approving dozens of pending licenses in order to streamline medical marijuana operations in Michigan. Amid these progressive cannabis measures happening in the state, the legislation against a thing doesn’t even exist yet is making no sense to many.
House Bill 4668
The bill banning cannabis-infused drinks actually consists of multiple provisions. The first provision of HB 4668 is more on technical lines regarding the use of public funds from Michigan’s Liquor Commission. The second part of the bill entails the ban on marijuana-infused drinks. It categorically mentions that using, possessing and selling alcohol products mixed with weed will be considered as a misdemeanor.
However, the law gives exemption to colleges, universities, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to use such products for research purposes. Republican Senator Rick Jones has talked about why state legislators felt the need to work out such a draft. According to Senator Jones, Michigan doesn’t want to end up like Colorado where cannabis-infused drinks are legal and creating problems law enforcement problems particularly in terms of traffic violations.
It is important to clarify here that Colorado only allows intoxicating cannabis drinks that don’t contain alcohol. Similarly, the alcohol drinks with the traces of cannabis only contain CBD part of it, which is not psychoactive.
Even though no legal state hasn’t formally merged the operations of cannabis and alcohol, but it is being repeatedly asserted by experts that a shared venture is the future of both the industries. Different forecasting analyses also suggest that edibles and infused drinks will be the biggest sub-industry of a legal cannabis landscape.
For now, no retail product containing both THC and ethanol is legally available in any jurisdiction. However, no one is stopping consumers from preparing their own marijuana cocktails.
Cannabis advocacy groups have criticized the bill and called it redundant. Board member of NORML’s Michigan chapter says what’s the point of a bill that literally affects no one in the state? This redundancy of the law will hang in there even if Michiganders approve the adults-use of cannabis next month.