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Michigan judge rules unlicensed marijuana businesses can stay open

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

It’s a new month and a new lease on life for dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana businesses in Michigan.

A Michigan Court of Claims judge sided with unlicensed cannabis businesses on Tuesday.  

In a sometimes scathing opinion, Judge Stephen Borrello slammed the state’s handling of applications from medical marijuana businesses.  

Since last fall, state regulators have imposed, and repeatedly lifted, deadlines for the businesses to get a state license. The latest deadline was March 31stBut several businesses filed suit.

In his opinion, Judge Borrello described the state’s deadlines of being “arbitrary and capricious;” violating due process. He says the state's handling of applications under a 2016 law has been slow and "apt to sudden change, freakish or whimsical."

The unlicensed marijuana businesses can now stay open, while the state reviews their applications. The judge says the state can't shut down shops that don't get a license until 60 days after a final decision from regulators.

A Marijuana Regulatory Agencyspokesman says officials are reviewing the judge’s opinion.

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.