Michigan Pot Shops get new deadline for approval and closure

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on October 03, 2018.

Michigan imposed a Halloween deadline Monday for dispensaries that are not fully licensed by the end of October to either get a state license or be forced to shut down.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued new emergency rules which could put dozens of facilities out of business.

According to the new rules, the dispensaries could be forced to shut down if they fail to receive a state license as per the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act by Oct. 31.

The LARA has decided to enforce the Oct. 31 deadline despite a continued backlog in unprocessed applications and a court order that had temporarily allowed many existing businesses to operate until Dec. 15.

A Court of Claims judge overruled the state's plan to treat two different classes of dispensaries differently.

As many as 206 dispensaries that have been operating with approval from their local communities, but still haven't gotten a state license. They were issued cease and desist letters from the state in March ordering them to shut down.

The first deadline was June 15 for dispensaries to get a license or shut down. But the state didn't approve the first dispensary license until July 12, so the June deadline was extended to Sept. 15.

However, Judge Stephen Berrello overruled the state’s plan to make 98 dispensaries that hadn't turned in completed applications to close on Sept. 15, and allowed 106 retail shops that had turned in all steps of their application, which included building plans as well as community approval, to stay open until Dec. 15.

The new Dec. 15 deadline is the third time the department has extended the deadline for dispensaries to get a license or shut down.

After medical marijuana became legal in Michigan in 2008, the state has approved licenses for 37 applicants including seven growers, four processors, 19 dispensaries, three secure transporters and four testing facilities.

Michigan has received 702 applications and, in addition to the licenses approved, 72 applicants have been given preliminary approval for a license.

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