Why Michigan Reversed its Stance on CBD

Why Michigan Reversed its Stance on CBD

February 1, 2019

In May of 2018, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, in conjunction with the state’s Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, stunned CBD consumers and patients last year by declaring the possession of CBD products illegal for those without medical marijuana cards. Just five months later, CBD laws in Michigan changed again and CBD became legal, but why?

From Banned to Embraced: CBD Laws in Michigan

If you were a curious CBD consumer in Michigan in 2018, chances are, you were pretty confused about whether CBD laws in Michigan allowed for you to purchase or possess products containing cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient found in both cannabis and hemp plants.

The announcement was merely one of dozens of confusing CBD laws and announcements released in the wake of confusion stemming from the conflation of CBD with marijuana. Because CBD can be derived from cannabis and hemp, confusion about the effect and source of the cannabinoid has been the cause for debate and, in Michigan’s case, laws gets established and rescinded within months.

The Curious Case of CBD Legality in Michigan

While CBD is the ingredient at the heart of the issue, the confusion begins with hemp. As of 2014, Michigan and a handful of other states, began to allow industrial hemp to grow through the pilot programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. While these pilot programs would ultimately become the foundation for the legal hemp industry in 2018, it is important to note that prior to 2018’s Farm Bill, there were no known commercial hemp producers in Michigan.


“They’re creating mass confusion here,” Scott Leshman told reporters in 2018. The founder of Cannabinoid Creations, Leshman’s Detroit company mixes CBD isolate imported from Europe with chocolates, candies, and sodas for consumers across the state.

According to David Harns, spokesman for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, Michigan, regulators decided to clear up the confusion by declaring all CBD, including hemp-derived CBD products, are subject to cannabis industry regulations. “There’s obviously been a gray area here for some time,” said Harns, “We just felt it was necessary to let everyone know what the law says. Basically CBD is handled the same way as any other part of the marijuana plant. All products that come from the marijuana plant are treated equally, regardless of the THC content.”

While CBD processing and sales were still legal in Michigan after the May 2018 announcement, CBD producers and manufacturers were relegated to the medical marijuana market which not only had chilling effect on their operations, but their consumers as well.

How Demand Helped Legalize CBD in Michigan

Just five months after the state announced its hardline stance on CBD, consumers and regulators pushed through a bill that would open up Michigan’s CBD market to include sales outside of medical marijuana dispensaries. On December 28, 2018 Governor Gretchen Whitmer, signed a bill enabling the manufacture and use of hemp-derived CBD, once again opening up sales and access to consumers and patients across the state.

Although it won’t take effect until March of 2019, Michigan’s new CBD law reverses previous limits on CBD enacted by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs last and the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation last May. The much-criticized rule was blamed for driving CBD manufacturers and hemp-related jobs, out of state. Once the new law goes into effect, the state estimates it will need a handful of employees and half-a-million dollars to run its new legal hemp program.

Find Out Where CBD is Legal with myCBD.org

Unsure of where to go to find legal CBD products? Instead of resorting to dubious online retailers, make sure you use sources like myCBD.org to ensure that you have access to the vetted science, brands, and industry news you need to stay empowered and informed about how to use CBD products.

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