Michigan Dispensaries Face Tough Decision Over New Regulations: Close or No License

Michigan marijuana businesses hoping to stay operational in the “gray area” before the state begins issuing licenses received some bad news on Tuesday.

Michigan lawmakers unveiled the new regulatory framework they hope will be the most effective method of oversight and tax revenue generation but warned current cannabis shops that staying open before the application process begins on Dec. 15 could put their chances of obtaining one of the highly-coveted licenses at risk.

The state isn’t requiring the shops to close, but Andrew Brisbo, Director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Bureau, warned shops that stay open through Dec. 15 could face a “potential impediment to licensure.”

Owners and employees of currently operational Michigan dispensaries are not the only ones who will feel the effects of these new rules, as over 218,000 medical marijuana patients in the state will now have to grow their own medicine or find a reliable caregiver in the absence of shops that must now shut down in hopes of thriving in the future marketplace.

Dispensaries were not specifically addressed in 2008 when Michigan passed medical marijuana laws — some cities and towns turn a blind eye while others outright ban the businesses activity.

Regulations developed last year for Michigan’s medical marijuana industry call for a licensing system with five tiers, including licenses to grow, process, sell, transport, and test marijuana.

The application fee for a license will cost marijuana business owners between $4,000 and $8,000. License fees for a variety of different cannabis businesses will vary between $10,000 and $57,000, though a “Class A” cultivation license fee will remain capped at $10,000 by law to ensure there remains a place in the market for small businesses to thrive.


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