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Michigan to dispensaries: close by Dec. 15 or risk not getting a license

Marijuana plant
Cities across Michigan are slowly reacting to Michigan's medical marijuana law

Michigan is giving medical marijuana businesses until December 15 to close or potentially risk not obtaining a license under a new regulatory system.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced the decision Tuesday, and hours later a state board dropped a proposal to potentially force the dispensaries to shut down later this week.

At the meeting the state’s licensing department announced that it, not the board, had final say on the issue, and has sole authority to promulgate rules and emergency rules to implement, administer and enforce a new state law.

The department says giving dispensaries, which are operating under a legal cloud, three months to close allows them time to wind down. The state hopes to issue licenses sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Andrew Brisbo is with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation in the state’s licensing department. He says the department also wanted to give patients time to find a caregiver.

“We wanted to make sure we were considering the patient access and the ability of patients to get their medicine and give them time to determine alternative means if they’re currently using a dispensary and establish caregiver relationships.”

One board member is continuing to express misgivings, saying that the shops are illegal and should be closed quickly.

Marijuana users argue having any disruption in access to dispensaries will be detrimental to patients. The board won’t start accepting applications until December 15th.

This story was updated at 3:15 p.m.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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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