Forty medical marijuana businesses were closed on March 15, and hundreds more are expected to receive similar cease and desist letters from state officials and law enforcement over alleged violations of licensing rules.
Businesses that did not file an application for a license by the February 15 deadline, established by a set of emergency rules signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder to keep such establishments open, were considered to be operating illegally, and were shuttered.
The closures appear to place another roadblock in the path of Michigan’s already complicated medical marijuana industry, which has been projected to draw more than $700 million in revenue per year.
According to the Detroit Free Press, cease and desist letters were given to business owners by representatives of the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and police. No products were confiscated, according to David Harns, a spokesperson for the department, who did not specify which businesses were given the letters, though the Free Press speculated that these were most likely dispensaries operating outside of state medical marijuana laws.
Voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008, which granted caregivers the right to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for each of five patients with valid medical marijuana cards. As the Free Press noted, some caregivers established dispensaries that formed the foundation of the state’s medical marijuana industry, which the legislature decided to tax and regulate in 2016.
However, an array of conflicting bills muddied the path to streamlined regulations, resulting in a proposed shutdown of all existing dispensaries on December 15, 2017.
Governor Snyder signed an emergency bill that allowed the state to accept license applications and allowed the established dispensaries to remain open while seeking a license, as long as they operated with the approval of their community and applied for the license by