Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday abolishing the state’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation and Medical Marihuana Licensing Board.
Recreational and medical marijuana in the state of Michigan will now be controlled by the new Marijuana Regulatory Agency.
The licensing board has been criticized for a backlog of applications and a shortage of medical marihuana in January.
Donald Bailey, is a retired state trooper and member of the licensing board. He said he thinks people are making a mistake by taking away the board.
“The impression is that the licensing board is the weak link in getting applications through," said Bailey. "And, nothing could be further from the truth. We review everything that’s come before us. The process of application is the culprit here. ”
Bailey said he fears abolishing the medical marihuana licensing board will have a significant negative impact on public safety.
In a statement, Gov. Whitmer said the new agency will limit inefficiencies of the board and streamline regulation.
Jeff Hank is the executive director of M-I Legalize, the group that mounted the recreational marijuana campaign that Michigan voters approved into law in November. He said the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board was taking a year or longer to process dispensary licenses.
“It really was more about politics than it was about business," said Hank. "So, what Governor Whitmer has done here is taken a very pro-business, more smaller government free market regulatory stance, which is going to cut out a lot of the unnecessary red tape.”