State set to extend emergency rules for some medical pot businesses
Lansing — Some medical marijuana businesses in Michigan will get a break from a looming state licensing deadline, but which ones qualify and for how long is not yet clear.
The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will extend the emergency rules that allow certain existing medical marijuana businesses to continue operating during the licensing process, said Andrew Brisbo, director for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation.
The emergency rules, which were put in place to ensure patients still had access to medical marijuana through the licensing period, are set to expire Friday. Brisbo said the state should have details Tuesday on an extension of those rules.
“We’ve heard a lot of concerns over the past month and we want to make sure those concerns are heard and considered, and we take appropriate action,” Brisbo said.
News of the extension, which was requested by providers and patients worried about an “industry shutdown,” came during a Monday meeting of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board.
During the meeting, board members granted 21 operating licenses and denied six, bringing the total number of approved operating licenses to 37. Twelve of the 21 operating licenses granted went to provisioning centers.
Ten of the facilities that obtained license approvals have paid their regulatory fee and are up and running, Brisbo said.
The board also has pre-qualified a total of 72 facilities. A little more than 700 businesses so far have applied for pre-qualification and 53 have been denied.
In many cases, board members cited applicants failure to disclose arrests or tangles with the law as reasons for denying licenses or pre-qualification status.
Brisbo also announced during the Monday meeting that the state would increase the annual regulatory fee of each licensed operator from $48,000 in 2018 to $66,000 in 2019. The fee was calculated based on the cost of regulating the industry and the number of payments the state expects it will receive, he said.
“The essential reason for it going up this year is because we’re funding a full year of operations now versus fiscal 2018 where we weren’t,” Brisbo said.
Businesses applying for a state license must go through a 10-stage process that includes a $6,000 application fee and in-depth financial and background investigations.
The bureau is reviewing and processing hundreds of applications under the 2016 licensing law law to ensure applicants meet several benchmarks, including high “moral character, integrity and reputation.”