During the Licensing Board meeting on October 21, the Director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) revealed a LARA plan to travel across the state to demonstrate the new seed-to-sale tracking system for marijuana cultivation, transport and sales.
“In November of this year the Department intends to engage in what we call the Road Show,” Director Andrew Brisbo of BMMR announced.
The BMMR is a division of government housed within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The Licensing Board is a creation of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA).
“We intend to go to a number of different places throughout the state to provide demonstrations of the METRC System as well as the licensing process and provide a forum in which interested parties can get more information,” Andrew Brisbo told the crowd of 200+ at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.
The Marihuana Tracking Act was passed in 2016, as part of the MMFLA bill package, and requires monitoring of all cannabis contained within the MMFLA. METRC is the name of the system being used in Michigan by Franwell Incorporated, the Florida company who won the Michigan license to track every plant and gram in the medical marijuana commercial system.
The Franwell contract was initiated on May 12, 2017, per Brisbo. “The statue requires that the system be implemented within 180 days of the contract’s authorization.” That timeframe would place the deadline for operational functionality of the METRC system in early November.
The duties performed by the METRC system includes validating registry identification cards; comparing the proposed sale against the allowable purchase amount assigned to each patient; and the “date, time, quantity and price of each transfer.”
Cannabis will be monitored throughout its entire life cycle, from sprout through processing and ending at a tax-collected retail sale.
“The holistic intent of the system, if you will, is the effective monitoring of marijuana from seed to sale,” Brisbo explained.
The METRC system takes data from licensees in five different industries and tracks the history of all cannabis in the system. As such, the METRC program must work with a variety of third-party software programs used to track retail sales, sales tax or garden progress. “The system can communicate with any third-party system utilized by the licensees,” Brisbo assured the attendees.
Attendees were urged to sign up to receive emailed newsletters from the Bureau at www.michigan.gov/medicalmarihuana
Members of the Licensing Board expressed interest in participating in the Road Show demonstrations, but the Open Meetings Act establishes restrictions on the group assembling at unannounced and unrecorded times.
“Our intention with the Road Show is to extend an invitation to (Licensing) Board members but we can not have more than two Board members at any given meeting,” to remain compliant with the Open Meetings Act, Brisbo explained.
“The road show meetings should be cookie-cutter,” Brisbo explained, “so it should be the same information at each event in order to increase accessibility to interested parties. We’ll work with the Board and figure out the best way to integrate you into this process.”