All medical marijuana businesses in Michigan must now have a license by Halloween, according to the latest set of emergency rules from state regulators.
Officials are trying to force businesses into the licensed system, and are now changing the compliance deadline for the fourth time this year.
Officials from the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced Monday that all businesses must have a license from the state board in order to operate after Oct. 31. After that date, all product sold at a provisioning center has to be grown, processed, tested and transported at a licensed business.
Last month state officials tried to force the closure of 98 medical marijuana businesses who hadn't submitted certain paperwork by the previous deadline of Sept. 15.
For 108 other businesses whose licenses were further along in the review process, officials were going to let them operate unlicensed until Dec. 15.
A judge issued a temporary restraining order on that rule Sept. 13, and so all of the businesses were given until Dec. 15 to be licensed. That is, until Monday, Oct. 1, when officials issued their latest set of emergency rules.
If a business has its doors open without a license after Oct. 31, they could be referred to police or the state Attorney General's office.
Denise Pollicella with Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan was the lawyer who gained the temporary restraining order on the state's Sept. 15 deadline.
Regarding the new Halloween deadline for full licensure, Pollicella said she did not understand the procedural or legal reason why the deadline needed to be moved up by 45 days.
"I'm going to continue to say that I do not think this will be enough licensed facilities to create a robust industry, or even an industry," Pollicella said.
There are 12 active medical marijuana licenses in the state, according to the Bureau of Medical Marihuana's online database. Five are provisioning centers. The board has approved a total of 37 licenses.
The next meeting of the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board is Oct. 18.
"They're penalizing everyone they haven't gotten to," Pollicella said. "LARA's job is to get facilities licensed and to create an industry. I don't see this as being facilitative. This seems like an enormous waste of everyone's time for 45 days."
-- Amy Biolchini is the marijuana beat reporter for MLive. Contact her with questions, tips or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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