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Michigan Cannabis Biz Seeks 'Essential' Classification, Requests Telemed Authorization

March 20, 2020 12:46 pm
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Michigan Cannabis Biz Seeks 'Essential' Classification, Requests Telemed Authorization

The Michigan Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA) has petitioned the state to classify cannabis as an “essential item” and authorize physicians to certify medical patients via telemed platforms throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

What Happened

In a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the association of nearly 200 businesses pleaded for an easing of industry regulations.

“To further reduce the risk of exposure we respectfully request that the state swiftly allow physicians to evaluate patients and write recommendations for both new medical marijuana patients and renewing patients using telecommunications,” the letter said. “This action which is not currently available to us will help flatten the curve by keeping our most vulnerable patients at home.”

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency took steps this week to reduce COVID-19 transmission by accelerating application review for home delivery licenses and by permitting recreational and medical retailers to complete curbside sales.

See Also: Kent County, Michigan's First Recreational Cannabis Dispensary Draws Over 100 Customers At Opening

Why It’s Important

The MCIA claims it can be part of the solution to the coronavirus outbreak by providing a product that helps reduce anxiety and by offering patients relief outside of a doctor’s office or hospital.

“Our medical system needs to be available to prioritize the coronavirus pandemic and must not be bombarded by medical marijuana patients returning for traditional treatment,” its letter to Whitmer said.

The classification of cannabis as “essential” could become important if the state embraces the “shelter in place” policies seen in Italy and California, where residents are only allowed to leave their homes for “essential” items.

What’s Next

Industry leaders anticipate positive action by the Whitmer Administration.

“Initial indications are that our letter is well received and we will continue to update you on our progress,” the MCIA said in an online statement.

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