The medical marijuana industry is poised to explode with new state regulations and taxes on the dispensaries that will sell the weed. Kathleen Gray/Detroit Free Press
The Reef, a medical marijuana dispensary offers about 60 different strains in Detroit on Friday, September 8, 2017.(Photo: Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo
Medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to stay open while the state decides who will get a license for the lucrative cannabis business, under a pair of bills introduced this week in the state Legislature.
Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, will introduce the bills in the Senate and House this week to counteract an advisory by the state to dispensaries that they should close before Dec. 15 or risk their chances at getting a license.
“It became very apparent that this was never the intention of the Legislature and we need to do something to ensure that people have safe and accessible medicine,” Knezek said. “We don’t want to force patients back to the underground, where products can be dangerous.”
Applications for the five categories of licenses – growers, processors, testers, dispensaries and transporters – will be available from the state on Dec. 15. And the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board will begin giving out licenses during the first quarter of 2018. To start with a fresh slate, the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs advised the dispensaries operating in Michigan – several hundred, including more than 70 in Detroit – to close by Dec. 15.
If they didn’t, LARA said, the