If you currently sell CBD products or are interested in selling CBD products, call the CBD and MMJ Attorneys at Scott F. Roberts Law today for a free business consultation. Michigan Offers Guidance on CBD and Industrial Hemp March 29, 2019 – The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) and the Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) issued joint guidance
Is CBD Legal in Michigan?
Due to legal and regulatory changes in the industry, including the 2018 Farm Bill and recent changes in the implementation of Michigan’s 2014 Industrial Hemp Research Act, the information contained in this Article may no longer be accurate. Please contact an attorney before relying on any information contained in this Article. For more information on cultivating hemp, or the Hemp Pilot Program in Michigan, check out our recent article .
As we discussed in our last article, CBD: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back , LARA, the state’s licensing agency, has announced that it considers CBD to be subject to the same regulations as other Marijuana derived products. During a recent LARA Live webcast featuring Andrew Brisbo, the LARA Director of Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, Mr. Brisbo danced around the questions of whether all CBD products are now regulated the same as other marijuana derivatives, like distillate.
The first question asked to Mr. Brisbo was essentially “what gives you the right to do this without any legislation?” His response was that CBD is a derivative of the cannabis sativa plant, and that CBD would now be included in this definition, even if produced from a hemp plant with little to no THC. He said that the federal definition of Marijuana, which finds that cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC is not considered regulated Marijuana, is only incorporated into the Michigan’s hemp laws but not its marijuana laws. For its marijuana laws, there is no “THC qualifier”, so in Michigan, any derivative of the cannabis sativa plant other than from sterilized seeds, oil from seeds, and mature stalks is considered a controlled substance.
Confused yet? Here is what he was really saying: CBD derived from cannabis sativa is regulated the same as Marijuana. What he didn’t mention, and what you needed to read between the lines to catch, is that under this definition, CBD derived from the mature stalks or sterilized seeds is legal in Michigan and not subject to the state’s Marijuana laws . This position is in line with the DEA’s position on CBD extracts.
That begs the question—how is LARA going to enforce its interpretation of the state’s Medical Marijuana laws, especially when some CBD products are legal and other almost identical products are not?
Unlike certain other departments, such as the Department of Natural Resources’ Conservation Officers, there is no “LARA police” to enforce the CBD ban. While LARA does have inspectors and examiners, as well as an enforcement division, this division is focused on investigating complaints on licensees and licensed establishments. LARA’s power in this way is limited. Similar to the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, there is a Liquor Control Commission within LARA that regulates the sale of alcohol. One of LARA’s primary enforcement tool for enforcing liquor laws is the revocation, suspension or of that person’s liquor license. However, the Liquor Control Commission relies on other law enforcement activities to prevent or control the sale of alcohol by unlicensed individuals. In other words, for activities that fall outside this focus, LARA requires the help and assistance of state or local law enforcement.
The bottom line is that if you are a medical marijuana business licensee under LARA, LARA could use its power over licenses and licensees to enforce its CBD ban against you or your company. But this also means that if you do not hold any licenses regulated by LARA, there is currently not much LARA can do at this point.
In his LARA live interview, Mr. Brisbo even said that “when it comes to enforcement of unlicensed activity, that’s really a law enforcement function.” Given that state and local police have yet to show any interest in going after CBD sellers or buyers, that CBD is by all accounts a very popular medicine and treatment, and that prosecutors would need to prove that the CBD was illegally derived in each case, a statewide crackdown is unlikely anytime soon. And a crackdown right before an important and contentious state election in 2018, at least on the state level, seems virtually impossible.
So if this ban has little to no teeth, why did Mr. Brisbo even bother with it? I can see three reasons. First, a recent case governing the federal interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act found that CBD was covered by the Act. Mr. Brisbo is announcing to the public that he reads Michigan’s laws restricting Marijuana, as well as the state’s legal definition of marihuana in the Public Health Code, as including CBD. While he lacks the power and political will to enforce this position at the moment—or as his interviewer stated in LARA Live—“this isn’t the law enforcement ‘time’”—that will likely change unless action is taken to change Michigan’s current marijuana laws.
Second, he is concerned with the unregulated nature of the CBD market and thinks state government should have the power to step in to protect consumers. He mentioned these concerns recently at the Cannacon conference in Detroit, and he may have a point.
The final reason? To help MMFLA licensees! While the reaction from the Michigan Cannabis industry to the CBD ban was visceral, I actually see it at as Mr. Brisbo throwing Michigan MMJ companies a bone. Essentially, the ultimate effect of the ban will be to prevent stores and individuals not licensed under the MMFLA or MMMA from selling CBD. This means that, absent caregivers, dispensaries would be the only place to buy legal weed AND legal CBD. With the market for CBD growing in popularity seemingly by the month, this guidance could have a big effect on licensees down the road—for better or for worse.
If you currently sell CBD products or are interested in selling CBD products, call the CBD and MMJ Attorneys at Scott F. Roberts Law today for a free business consultation.
Michigan Offers Guidance on CBD and Industrial Hemp
March 29, 2019 – The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) and the Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) issued joint guidance today regarding CBD (cannabidiol) and industrial hemp.
From the Marijuana Regulatory Agency:
- CBD products produced from marijuana will not be regulated as marijuana if the THC content is below 0.3%.
- Edible marijuana products containing CBD made by licensed processors may only be produced using CBD obtained from regulated sources. Currently, these regulated sources include state of Michigan licensed growers or processors under the MMFLA.
- MRA is in the process of writing administrative rules under the MMFLA and MRTMA to determine the methods for industrial hemp grown under the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act to be transferred to licensed marijuana facilities. Until the administrative rules are written, there is no authorized method for licensed facilities to obtain industrial hemp.
- Only facilities licensed by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) under the MMFLA can commercially grow, process, and sell marijuana and marijuana products.
- MRA does not regulate marijuana or marijuana products grown or produced by registered qualifying patients or designated primary caregivers under the MMMA or individuals over 21 for personal use under the MRTMA.
From the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development:
- Any product derived from industrial hemp with a THC concentration above 0.3% is classified as marijuana and regulated under the laws that apply to those products through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
- Products derived from industrial hemp, including CBD oil, fall under several different categories. Any substances that will be added to food or drink or marketed as dietary supplements must first be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for that intended use. At this time, the FDA has not approved CBD for use in food or drink or as a dietary supplement. Therefore, it’s currently illegal to add CBD into food products or drinks or sell it as dietary supplements.
- GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) is a list of substances that the FDA considers safe to add to food. Hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein and hemp seed oil are considered GRAS, as of 12/20/18. CBD is currently not considered GRAS, as of 3/29/19. In Michigan, any food production falls under the Michigan Food Law and the licensing requirements within the law.
- Growing industrial hemp will require a license from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). MDARD is in the process of developing a licensing program for growers to meet the requirements of both state and federal laws to allow interstate commerce of the plants.
- Marihuana (legal term) or Marijuana (common term): the plant Cannabis sativa L. with delta-9-THC concentrations above 0.3%. Includes products made from the marijuana plant, but excludes stalks, products made from the stalks, and some products made from seeds.
- Industrial Hemp: the plant Cannabis sativa L. with delta-9-THC concentrations below 0.3%. Includes products made from the industrial hemp plant.
- CBD (Cannabidiol): a substance derived from cannabis plants that does not have psychoactive effects.
Questions regarding marijuana should be directed to MRA:
Questions regarding industrial hemp should be directed to MDARD: