Regulators in Michigan are considering new rules that would allow the home delivery of medical marijuana to patients. The move is an effort to provide access to medicinal cannabis to more patients, especially those who have serious illnesses or do not live near dispensaries.
Andrew Brisbo, the director of the state Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, said the topic of home delivery came up early in the regulatory process.
“This isn’t a brand new issue,” Brisbo said. “We heard about it even during the promulgation of the emergency rules.”
The Bureau is in the process of creating permanent rules governing the state’s medical marijuana program. Currently, the program is being regulated by emergency rules that do not permit cannabis home delivery. Regulators are expected to hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to the emergency regulations in September before they are implemented by the end of the year.
Michigan voters approved the medicinal use of cannabis in a 2008 election, but the state did not begin licensing medical marijuana businesses until this year.
Program ‘Crucial’ For Patients
Rick Thompson, the editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report, said that home delivery of medicinal cannabis is “crucial” for some patients.
“The program is targeted to address the medical needs of the most ill citizens in our state,” Thompson said. “If you look at the list of qualifying conditions, some of those illnesses leave you without the ability to drive.”
Brisbo of the Medical Marihuana Regulation said that if approved, the new rules will allow employees of licensed provisioning centers to take medicinal cannabis to the homes of registered patients. Employees would only be allowed to make three deliveries per trip from the provisioning center.
Delivery vehicles would be required to have GPS tracking capability to allow the provisioning center to know its location at all times. Drivers would be prohibited from leaving cannabis unattended in the delivery vehicles.
The provisioning center would be required to keep records of deliveries in a state monitoring system. Information on delivery destinations, departure and arrival times would be required to be maintained both in the monitoring system and by the driver while making deliveries.
“It will be indicated that they’re out for delivery and who they’re delivering to,” Brisbo said.
Patients using cannabis delivery services would be subject to daily or monthly limits on the amount of product they could have delivered. Deliveries would only be allowed to be made to patients, not their caregivers. Patients would be able to pay for their orders with a credit card online or perhaps by cash at the time of delivery.
Brisbo also said that the medical marijuana dispensaries wishing to offer delivery to its patients will have to develop a plan and receive approval before beginning the service.
“It would be a change in the scope of their operation,” Brisbo said. “So their specific procedures for home delivery would have to be approved by the department before they engaged in it.”