2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

At the moment, Michigan’s COVID emergency measures remain in place; they include curbside pickup and telehealth services for certifications and renewals. Michigan’s population of registered patients saw narrow growth of just over 2% in 2020-2021.

This year, the state of Michigan recalled about 64,000-pounds of cannabis products in November after customers complained of allergic reactions, chest pains, flu-like symptoms, and other negative health outcomes. All of the products recalled were tested by a single laboratory between August and November. After a second round of tests, 26% of the products recalled were found to contain levels of yeast and mold that would be dangerous for individuals with weak immune systems or lung conditions. 68% of the products that failed the second test were intended for medical cannabis patients. The laboratory that failed to competently test these products for dangerous adulterants and put patients in danger challenged the state in court and won. The judge presiding over the case ordered Michigan’s regulators to release the contaminated product back onto the market. Though the toxicity of the products will be recorded in the state product tracking system, patients have no way of viewing this system for themselves.

For 2022, Michigan lawmakers must abandon plans to restrict caregiver growing of cannabis. This is a critical policy for patients that allows them to keep the cost of their own treatments down, a right they have greatly benefited from for many years. Lawmakers and regulators should also look at other policies that make medical cannabis more affordable for patients like financial hardship waivers and discounts for administrative fees. The state must also prioritize codifying additional patient rights like employment and housing protections. Finally, regulators should review the state’s product recall processes to ensure there is an impartial recall laboratory run by the state, and that future recalls are not overly broad, pulling unaffected products from the shelf and creating a supply problem for patients.