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Marijuana board considers shutting down dispensaries until licensing starts

Medical Marijuana
Troy Holden
flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
Medical Marijuana

In December, the state will start accepting applications for medical marijuana shops to get licenses. But meanwhile, there’s a dispute over how to deal with the dispensaries that are already open.

At a meeting today, the state’s medical marijuana licensing board considered whether dispensaries should have to close their doors before they can get a license. At least two board members want dispensaries that are already open to close next month – or risk being denied a license.

Board Member Donald Bailey initially wanted to give dispensaries until after Labor Day, but agreed to mid-September when suggested by another member.

“For those that are getting into the business or anticipate getting into the business, it’s a matter of fundamental fairness that everybody starts the race on the start line and nobody has a 40-yard advance,” Bailey said.

Patients, like Mark Gibson, said this will hurt their ability to get medication they need.

“It’s not right to ask someone who’s been a medical patient for years to all of a sudden complicate their lives so much that they may not be able to get effective treatment,” he said.

At least one other board member agreed with Bailey. Chairman Rick Johnson said he wants to do what is best for patients, but these dispensaries should close. 

“If we don’t do this today we’re going to do this somewhere in the future,” he said. “Because it needs to be done.”


The board will meet again before making a decision. It asked the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to give them more information about how the plan could affect patients.  

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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