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Marijuana Board Holds Off On Deadline For Dispensaries That Want To Become Legal

Aug 22, 2017

Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In December, the state will start accepting applications for medical marijuana shops to get licenses.  But meanwhile, there’s a dispute over how to deal with the dispensaries that are already open.

The state’s medical marijuana licensing board Monday considered whether dispensaries should have to close their doors before they can get a license.  At least two board members want dispensaries that are already open to close next month – or risk being denied a license. 

Board Member Donald Bailey initially wanted to give dispensaries until after Labor Day, but agreed to mid-September when suggested by another member. 

“For those that are getting into the business or anticipate getting into the business, it’s a matter of fundamental fairness that everybody starts the race on the start line and nobody has a 40-yard advance,” Bailey said. 

Patients, like Mark Gibson, said this will hurt their ability to get medication they need. 

“It’s not right to ask someone who’s been a medical patient for years to all of a sudden complicate their lives so much that they may not be able to get effective treatment,” he said.

At least one other board member agreed with Bailey.  Chairman Rick Johnson said he wants to do what is best for patients, but these dispensaries should close.  

“If we don’t do this today we’re going to do this somewhere in the future,” he said.  “Because it needs to be done.”

The board will meet again before making a decision.  It asked the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to give them more information about how the plan could affect patients.  

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org