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Matthew Abel On Michigan HB 4209


matthew abel cannabis counsel plc michiganMatthew Abel (Detroit’s law firm of Cannabis Counsel) published this via select media outlets early this morning. Mr. Abel carries the title of Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; a Lifetime Member, NORML Legal Committee; and a Director of the MILegalize organization.

These are his thoughts.


House Bill 4209 – now called the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, appears to be teed up for passage today in the Michigan House Judiciary Committee.

Several aspects of the bill included in the most recent draft leaked from closed “work groups” are particularly unpalatable and unworkable:

1.  The bill imposes a new 8% tax on MEDICAL marihuana.  No medicine should be taxed;

2.  The bill establishes a new bureaucracy costing $13 million (adding 113 licensing enforcement personnel, and 34 state police personnel, and four more lawyers in the Attorney General’s office;

3.  The bill establishes a mandatory middleman (“secure transporters”) who will have limited competition and unnecessarily drive up costs; and

4.  The bill exempts testing facilities from paying a proportionate share of the licensing enforcement costs.

A legislative analysis by the House Fiscal Agency was completed and posted yesterday (even though S-2 is not posted)

Below are just a few of the comments excerpted from the analysis: 
Although the costs estimated by LARA could be appropriate, and potentially accurate, for a scenario in which the recreational use of marihuana is legalized, they do not seem strictly applicable to the provisions of the bill.

If the costs estimated above (less the costs for the marihuana tracking information technology system supported by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Fund under HB 4210) were divided equally amongst medical marihuana patients, the average amount ultimately incurred by each patient would be $227. 

There is a possibility that the medical marihuana market envisioned under the bill would not bear the regulatory costs as estimated by LARA, as medical marihuana patients could opt to continue to grow marihuana or obtain it from caregivers or on the black market rather than pay potentially higher prices charged by provisioning centers.

House Bill 4827 adds new misdemeanors and civil infractions. Misdemeanor convictions would increase costs related to county jails and/or local misdemeanor probation supervision. The costs of local incarceration in a county jail and local misdemeanor probation supervision vary by jurisdiction. Misdemeanor fines and civil infraction fines are constitutionally dedicated to public libraries. 

The latest versions of HB4209 and HB4827 have not been well thought-out.  They clearly will cause numerous unintended consequences, while failing at their intended purpose, to move toward a regulated system and away from the illegal market.

It is time for this committee to listen to the stakeholders and fashion legislation which will serve its intended purpose.


Matthew Abel

Matthew R. Abel
Attorney at Law
Cannabis Counsel®, P.L.C.
Lawyers Who Roll The Right Way
2930 E. Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan  48207
Cell 248-866-0864
Executive Director, Michigan NORML
Lifetime Member, NORML Legal Committee

Help us legalize it at MILegalize.com

Mr. Abel is a speaker at the upcoming Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference in Flint on September 26. Michigan’s next big marijuana conference is a few short days away! Join Rick Thompson for the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference on September 26 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre. Marijuana Case Law Update, Legislative Review, so many other topics! 9 Seminars in all. www.micbd.com

Source: The Compassion Chronicles

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About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. The whole bill is cluttered with unneeded add-ons ( processors and secure transporters?? Seriously?? ) which would cause the end product to be far more expensive than the average patient could afford. Cost projections listed are far too low for the amount of monitoring the bill calls for, as are the number of government monitors the bill asks for ( as Doc stated previously ). The ONLY redeeming factor is thankfully it does not appear to infringe upon the original 2008 Statute. If this bill were initiated I foresee even more patients moving to retaining a Caregiver as CG costs are and would be vastly lower than any “Distribution Center” could be. And IMHO Dispensaries are an unfortunately necessary evil at this time, the prices dispensaries charge are overly inflated, but sadly many patients have no other recourse thanks to the 2012 statute change which barred P to P transfers.

  2. saynotohypocrisy on

    And push forward the effort to outright legalize in Michigan in 2016, which I think is already impressing people with how well it is going.

    Damn these, in this case, Republican thugs who control Michigan government. Alcohol supremacist bigots like these are going to fight us every single step of the way, everywhere they can. Reefer madness is a real phenomenom, their fear and hatred of cannabis is making them crazy.

  3. Simply Stated….Our wonderful lawmakers in Lansing are ignorant, greedy, and most of all uncompassionate, for those in need of this medicine! (A complete 180 degrees away from the intent, of the passing of the MMMA, in 2008!) They believe that it is a wolf in sheep’s disguise. Nobody should be exempt from the substance that gives them relief! This bill’s passing will only return the patients to the black market, and underground purchasing again!

  4. So you have to ask the question….are there 113 people and 34 state police assigned to the alcohol licensing and enforcement in the state?

    The horrible provisions were added by the haters to purposely derail this.

    We would be better off staying illegal like the dispensaries are now, at least they won’t be over regulated by people that don’t have a clue.

    These bills, now adulterated, will cause more problems for the MMJ in Michigan than they are supposed to solve.

    Once again, fu*ked by the politicians and AG, we are used to it.

    LEGALIZE 2016

  5. I think caregivers, patients, and provisioning centers’ need to work together to develop a framework that is actually beneficial to everybody. Politicians and their cohorts have not a clue in the world what they are doing, making it more difficult for this emerging industry to thrive. Wake up and smell the greed!

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