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.