Michigan recently created the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to centralize all facets of medical marijuana regulation, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reports.

The brand new agency, placed in LARA, combines the present supervision functions of the state’s patient and caregiver registry with the recently established statutory requirements for medical marijuana facility licensing.

“BMMR’s organizational structure places Michigan at the forefront of state medical marijuana regulation,” LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said. “Many other states have various licenses and patient programs spread throughout different departments and bureaus.”

Centralized services will improve patient protections and make regulations more efficient for business customers.

BMMR is in the procedure for executing the regulatory framework made by legislation signed by Gov. Snyder in September 2016. Regulatory functions comprise the investigation, licensing and enforcement of medical marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters, provisioning centers and security compliance facilities.

The law requires the agency to make licensing programs accessible by December 15, 2017.

BMMR has chosen Franwell, Inc., a technology company, to manage the state’s monitoring and tracking system.

The system will supply the agency with in-depth inventory information, monitor medical marijuana in all its forms from “seed to sale” and help ensure the legal production, transportation and financial transaction of medical marijuana in Michigan.

The agency will even house the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP), the state patient and caregiver registry that presently features more than 240,000 active patients and 40,000 active caregivers.

The Senate Fiscal Agency projects Michigan’s medical marijuana market to be worth $711.4 million, and associated taxes under the new law would raise about $21.3 million per year to be split between municipalities, counties, State General Fund/First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, county sheriffs, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, and the Department of State Police.

Attorney Jeffrey Hank, Chair of MI Legalize, the group working to bring the matter of legal recreational marijuana to voters, called the creation of the BMMR “more unnecessary bureaucracy” that wastes taxpayer money.

He said there is no demand for the safe transport provisions of the law, which requires businesses to be licensed to legally transport marijuana from one facility to another, and that the requirement opens the door for special interests to earn money off of the system.