John Hessburg, Kally Goodwin-Ratzloff
Legal Marijuana in Michigan: Next Steps for SNFs, ALs, and Senior Living Providers by: John Paul Hessburg and Kally Goodwin-Ratzloff
The ballot proposal to allow for legal marijuana usage in Michigan passed yesterday, on November 6, 2018. The law, once in effect, will allow users to carry 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public and have up to 10 ounces and 12 plants for personal use at home. It remains illegal in Michigan to smoke marijuana in public and to drive under the influence, and on a federal level marijuana is still illegal entirely. What does this mean for skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and senior living providers?
As a housing provider-regardless of licensure-you need to decide whether you will allow marijuana usage on your premises, keeping in mind that legal marijuana may come in many forms and may be consumed in edibles, vaped electronically, applied topically, or smoked. Decisions that you make related to Michigan's legal marijuana law should be codified in policies and also reflected in admission or lease agreements. By way of example, providers may choose to prohibit all marijuana related activities on the premises or have limited restrictions, if any at all (e.g., prohibit smoking marijuana and the growth of plants on the premises, but allow for products with marijuana ingredients like pills or lotions). Importantly, your policies and agreements should address whether your residents are allowed to grow marijuana on the premises, which is also allowed under the new law.
The approved initiative will go into effect "ten days after the date of the official declaration of the vote," which is expected to take approximately three weeks. However, that does not mean that recreational marijuana will be available yet for purchase. It will take time for the state to issue recreational licenses to businesses for the sale of recreational marijuana. The initiative gave Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) two years to create regulations and to start issuing licenses. During this "waiting" period, senior housing providers need to determine what their position is going to be relative to the possession, growth and/or use of recreational marijuana and implement policies that support their position.
Should you need assistance with the development of policies or the revision of your admission or lease agreements, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Post-Acute Care practice group.