Growing confusion over medical marijuana businesses, licensing concerns high as deadline approaches

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The highest levels of state government stepped in to prevent some medical marijuana dispensaries from having to close down on Saturday, but almost a hundred others won’t be so lucky.

Since 2016 the state has been working toward the goal of requiring all medical marijuana businesses to get a state license to operate.

But with multiple delays and deadlines the exact requirements are a bit hazy.

As much as officials want to regulate this budding industry, they also don’t want to burn business owners and patients.

So far only 37 marijuana businesses have been approved for a license in Michigan.

For the rest, a September 15th deadline was hanging in the air and without that license they would have to shut down.

Luckily the governor and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) stepped in to keep some of those businesses from getting bowled over.

The state of Michigan approved new emergency rules on Tuesday and for the third time, the state is extending the deadline for marijuana businesses to get licensed.

Andrew Brisbo, Director of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation for LARA says this applies to about 108 marijuana businesses that have been jumping through hoops.

“Essentially they had to have submitted their initial application to the department by February 15th and they had to have submitted their step 2 application which is the actual facility license portion of the application by June 15th. They also had to have municipal authorization to operate the facility,” said Brisbo.

Those businesses will now have until December 15th to get their state license.

However about 98 other medical marijuana businesses, mostly dispensaries, do not meet the requirements for the extension.

They will get “cease and desist” letters if they’re still open after Saturday.

“Facilities need to understand as they’re going through the licensure process how to abide by the rules that are in place to ensure that they don’t do anything that might jeopardize their ability to get licensed,” Brisbo stated.

Brisbo says it’s the state medical marijuana licensing board that ultimately determines if a dispensary is eligible for a license and any facility that does not meet the standards to continue operating…well, to be blunt…

“They’re still in the application process so once they’re approved for licensure, then they can open as a licensed facility and continue to operate in that capacity,” said Brisbo.

6 News will continue to weed through the new developments in this topic as that new deadline approaches and voters get the opportunity to green-light a legalization proposal in November.

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