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Lansing — Two former Detroit Lions players plan to appeal a decision of the Michigan medical marijuana licensing board after the group denied four applications for pre-qualification based on "integrity" issues. 

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Robert Anderson Sims Jr. had applied for preliminary approvals for planned Birmingham facilities for growing, processing, and selling medical marijuana.

Referring to Johnson by his initials, board member Don Bailey said the former Pro Bowl wide receiver had minor traffic violations from nine and four years ago for which warrants had been issued. He also cited "concerning" issues for Sims and a potential violation of the 2008 law for another person listed on the application.

Bailey said Johnson's response to the traffic citation issue was problematic. 

"When confronted with those issues, the response was that they might take steps in the future to take care of those issues," he said. 

Johnson and Sims maintain the problems have been resolved and the board was provided proof of that resolution, according to their spokesman John Truscott, who also took issue with Bailey's characterization of Johnson's response. 

"We don’t know where that came from but that appears to be fabricated," Truscott said, noting that Johnson resolved the tickets in early October. Sims, he said, had issues with property he was flipping in Dearborn that have since been resolved. 

The pair intend on appealing the board's decision, Truscott said. 

"This appears to be a decision that was arbitrary and not based on the facts of what was provided to them," Truscott said. "I don’t know how anybody can be approved if they just make it up as they go along.”

Johnson and Sims' applications were among dozens considered by the board Thursday for licenses in the emerging market, a day after Michigan’s new recreational marijuana law took effect.

As of Friday, 91 facilities had been licensed and dozens more are still operating while seeking a state license. The state has agreed not to shut down those unlicensed operating facilities prior to Dec. 31.

The board on Friday also approved a resolution that would allow licensed medical marijuana businesses to obtain weed from registered primary caregivers temporarily to supplement the supply from newly minted medical marijuana growers.

Under the adopted resolution, the licensing board couldn't take disciplinary action against licensed provisioning centers, growers and processors who buy marijuana from caregivers while the new product from licensed growers enters the regulated market through licensing.

Bailey opposed the resolution, noting there are people who were incarcerated and convicted for the same issue. “This goes against what’s allowed under the 2008 law,” he said. 

The board’s other three members supported the resolution, though they noted it wasn’t ideal.

“It doesn’t fix everything I’d like to see fixed, but it goes in the direction of trying to provide product to patients who dearly need it,” said board Chairman Rick Johnson.

The resolution approved Friday will allow licensed provisioning centers, growers and processors to obtain marijuana from a caregiver if they obtain signed patient consent and enter inventory and sales into the statewide monitoring system.

The resolution allows provisioning centers to buy from caregivers through Dec. 31 and sell that product through Jan. 31. However, any product sold between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31 must also be tested.

Growers and processors are able to purchase and sell products from caregivers through Feb. 28, 2019, ensuring a steady supply for patients and creating diversified strains within the market. The businesses would need to test the products before transferring them again.

The board will hold one additional meeting Dec. 21 in an effort to license as many businesses as are qualified.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3661

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