Michigan extends medical marijuana licensing deadline to Dec. 15, but 98 outfits must close
Lansing — Some Michigan medical marijuana facilities will have until Dec. 15 to get licensed under an extension of emergency rules that have allowed them to continue operating while wading through the state licensing process.
But another 98 facilities that applied before Feb. 15 but have yet to submit their applications for facility licenses will be issued cease-and-desist letters after Sept. 15, the state said Tuesday. This could jeopardize their licensing if they continue operating.
Under the new rules signed Tuesday by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, medical marijuana businesses already granted their licenses may choose to return them to the state so as to continue operating under the same emergency rules as other unlicensed facilities.
The state would then return the license Dec. 1 so all licensed facilities in the interdependent web of growers, processors, transporters, testers and provisioning centers would be up and running together by the Dec. 15 deadline.
The ability to suspend some licenses until December is important for the industry to maintain a viable market since, once licensed, facilities are prohibited from doing business with unlicensed facilities, said David Harns, a spokesman for the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
“This will help maintain patient access to their medicine both now and over the next three months,” Harns said. “Everybody has the ability to operate under the same framework for three months and then everybody moves into the same framework in December.”
The Dec. 15 extension is available to businesses that applied for licenses before Feb. 15 and had submitted a marijuana facility license application before June 15. A total of 108 applicants fall within that category, according to the state.
Facilities that applied before Feb. 15 but have yet to submit their applications for facility licenses will be issued cease-and-desist letters after Sept. 15 and could jeopardize their licensing if they continue operating. This category includes about 98 applicants, the state said.
Applicants already approved for licensing must pay the $48,000 regulatory assessment within 10 business days of obtaining their notice of approval, then can continue operating until the department issues their license.
Like those who return their license to the state, those applicants who pay their regulatory fee won’t receive their license until Dec. 1. Twenty-seven applicants approved for licensure have yet to pay their regulatory assessment, while 10 applicants have paid and were issued licenses, according to the state
The new emergency rules also allow licensed provisioning centers to sell untested medical marijuana that was obtained prior to getting their license if a patient or caregiver signs a waiver agreeing the arrangement. Medical marijuana stocked after the licensing date must be tested and in full compliance with state law.
Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation Director Andrew Brisbo first alluded to the changes to the emergency rules Monday during a meeting of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, citing concerns from providers and patients.
Stakeholders had pleaded with the state to extend the emergency rules the allowed some unlicensed facilities to continue operating, warning of an “industry shutdown” that could be detrimental to patients if the state stuck to the Sept. 15 deadline.
During the Monday meeting, board members granted 21 operating licenses and denied six, bringing the total number of approved operating licenses to 37. Nineteen of the 37 approved licenses concern provisioning centers.