Detroit has almost 50 illegal medical marijuana delivery businesses

Posted at 10:34 AM, Mar 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-03 10:37:24-05

DETROIT (AP) — About four dozen medical marijuana delivery businesses are operating in Detroit, even though Michigan regulators haven’t yet approved any home delivery licenses.

Marketing agency Grow Cannabis Marketing has identified 44 medical marijuana delivery businesses in the city, The Detroit News reported .

The Medical Marihuana Licensing Board in November approved a rule that would allow licensed provisioning centers to seek permission to start home-delivery services. Centers would be allowed to have one driver and deliver up to 2.5 ounces to 10 patients at a time.

The Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department hasn’t received requests for such licensing yet, said spokesman David Harns.

Licensed provisioning centers that operate physical locations say the delivery operations are taking away business. Jerry Millen, co-owner of the Greenhouse Dispensary in Walled Lake, said he believes the services aren’t safe.

“It’s people who are skirting the laws,” Millen said. “They can go do delivery, and there’s no regulation, no way to track where it’s going. At some point, something is going to happen, and it’ll be a black eye on the cannabis industry, and it’s not going to be a licensed facility.”

Delivery services argue that they’re filling a need as the industry is in a transition phase with few approved cultivators.

Many of the businesses use licensed caregivers to fulfill deliveries. Caregivers can legally deliver marijuana to their patients, but sometimes a patient’s caregiver isn’t the one delivering the products to their doorstep.

Mr. Nice Guy’s Caregivers is a network of caregivers in Macomb County that launched in 2017, said managing member Phil Russo.

“We want to help move this industry and move it out of the shadow,” he said.

Patients who receive medical marijuana through unlicensed delivery services may be at risk, said D.J. Hilson, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

“If patients are receiving marijuana from someone other than their caregiver, even if the person delivering is a registered caregiver, they face the potential of losing their protections under the safe harbor provisions of the (2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana) act,” said Hilson, the Muskegon County prosecutor.

The Michigan State Police will work closely with the licensing department to investigate alleged illegal activity, said spokeswoman Shanon Banner.

“The MSP will continue to review potentially illegal marijuana sales with county prosecutors to determine when criminal enforcement is warranted and will investigate this activity as resources permit,” she said.