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Michigan's unlicensed medical marijuana businesses face a March 31 deadline

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s medical marijuana businesses are once again facing a deadline to get a state license or be forced to close their doors.

State regulators are proposing Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board give businesses until the end of this month to get their license to operate.   

Starting April 1, cease and desist letters will be sent to those without a license ordering them to shut their doors.  The state originally set the March 31 date back in January, after granting medical marijuana businesses another extension. 

But according to the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, approximately 50 businesses are still waiting to get a state license.

Association spokesman Josh Hovey says it’s wrong to punish dispensaries and other medical marijuana businesses for the state’s own slow license vetting process.

"While it was not realistic to expect the state to indefinitely issue extensions for the temporary operating facilities, there will be dozens of businesses unfairly forced to close," says Hovey.

In the past, state regulators relented amid concerns that closing dispensaries would make it difficult for medical marijuana patients to get their medicine.

But this time, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is recommending the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) adopt a resolution which will help maintain patient access to medical marijuana by allowing certain licensed facilities to continue to source product from caregivers without it resulting in disciplinary action against their licenses.

“Our recommendation requires state testing and the use of secure transport as products are moved through the regulated supply chain,” said Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Director Andrew Brisbo. “It creates a fair and competitive environment for licensed facilities and allows tested caregiver product to help maintain a sufficient supply until the licensed growers are fully online.”

The licensing board is scheduled to meet March 21. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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