The state licensing agency for medical marijuana has issued new emergency rules, and those rules include a deadline for unlicensed facilities.
The unlicensed operation of medical marijuana facilities in the state will end on Oct. 31, according to a release from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The change impacts nearly 100 medical marijuana businesses in Michigan that must receive state licensing by Halloween.
Previously, a judge allowed these facilities to operate until mid-December, but the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (MMFLA) moved the deadline up.
“(It) changes all the time; every single day we are getting new information, new news comes out,” said Barton Morris of the Cannibis Legal Group.
He says it's hard to keep up with all of the changes when it comes to licenses for medical marijuana businesses.
The new emergency administrative rules were issued to continue the implementation of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), a media release states.
Under the new rules there will be:
- Continued access for medical marihuana patients
- The integrity of the marihuana facilities licensing process
- A necessary transition to state-licensed medical marihuana safety standards
According to a release, under the new rules, proposed medical marijuana facilities that would otherwise require state operating license under MMFLA may continue to operate with local approval until Oct. 31., without impacting the applicant's eligibility for licensure.
Barton says the licensing board is expected to meet on Oct. 18. If they do not approve an operators' license that day, after Oct. 31, those facilities must shut down.
The Medical Marijuana Licensing Board has granted more than 30 licenses so far. However, Barton says more are needed to keep up with patient demand.
“There’s 277,000 patients in the state of Michigan," he said. "Most of them are relying upon getting their medicine from regulated dispensaries.”
Barton added that he wouldn't be surprised if operators challenge LARA's deadline as soon as next week.
Also under the new emergency rules, an applicant that has been denied licensure must stop any temporary operation. After Oct. 31, it will be considered unlicensed activity and may be referred to police.