Michigan To Let Medical Marihuana Shops Remain Open – For Now


To help ensure the continued protection of medical marihuana patients, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced this week its intention to issue emergency rules later this month which would allow proposed medical marihuana facilities – that would otherwise require a state operating license under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) – to continue to operate with local approval without impacting the applicant’s eligibility for licensure.

Since its inception in April, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) has pro-actively engaged medical marihuana stakeholders and has listened intently to input from Michigan’s most vulnerable patients.

“After dozens of hours of public comments, discussions with more than one hundred workgroup members, and numerous letters and emails, it is clear that BMMR and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board must enact measures that help protect medical marihuana patients and ensure they have continued access to their medicine,” said BMMR Director Andrew Brisbo.“Through emergency rules, the Bureau and Board will not consider a medical marihuana facility’s prior operation as an impediment to licensure as long as the applicant documents approval from their municipality in their application.”

To avoid facing an impediment to licensure, the applicant must have been operating a proposed medical marihuana facility within the boundaries of a municipality that adopted an authorizing ordinance prior to December 15, 2017, and must submit a complete prequalification application by February 15, 2018, with one of the following documents included in the application:

  • An attestation – signed by the local clerk – that affirms the municipality has allowed, by ordinance, the operation of marihuana establishments.
  • An attestation – signed by the local clerk – that affirms the municipality has adopted a new or amended ordinance required under section 205 of the MMFLA.

BMMR also announced the following clarification:

  • Proposed medical marihuana facilities that continue to operate with local approval are not guaranteed a state operating license.
  • Proposed medical marihuana facilities that continue to operate with local approval must cease operations if any of the following are true, or risk denial of licensure:
  • A completed prequalification application is not turned into LARA by February 15, 2018.
  • The applicant has been denied state licensure.
  • The applicant has not been issued a state license by June 15, 2018.
  • Noncompliance is grounds for disciplinary action and referral to law enforcement for unlicensed activity. Until a license is received from the state, the operation of a proposed medical marihuana facility should be considered a business risk by the operator. This process will allow for unlicensed activity to be reported to LARA and potentially forwarded to the Michigan State Police and the Attorney General.
  • LARA and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board expect to begin issuing state operating licenses by April 2018, if not sooner.
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Fergus is a reporter who mainly focuses on crime and local issues. Before joining the New Mexico Courier Express, he worked as a researcher and writer for the Institute for Northern Studies at Ohio State University and as a freelance journalist in Portalnd, having been published by over 20 outlets including NPR, the Center for Media and Democracy,The Huffington Post, Salon, Truthout and VICE.com.