More than 18,000 people and 678 vendors gathered in Las Vegas for the MJBizCon, a conference all about the cannabis industry. Wochit
Medical-marijuana samples at 420 Dank, a medical dispensary, in Detroit. (Photo: Salwan Georges, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo
EAST LANSING – More than 600 people have started the process of getting a medical marijuana license, but only 20 of them have filed completed applications that include approval from local communities for their medical pot business.
The slow pace is the result of a number of factors: continued confusion over state law; cities and towns that have been slow to enact ordinances that will allow the businesses into their communities, and lingering uncertainty over how stringently federal authorities will enforce laws that — on a federal level — still consider marijuana an illegal drug.
“It’s definitely lower than we expected,” Andrew Brisbo, director of the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana, said after a meeting Friday of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board. “But many of the applicants are focusing on getting their municipal approval in before they submit an application to us.”
In addition to the 20 applications that have received municipal approval, 123 more people have turned in pre-qualification applications that will allow the state to begin background checks, while the entrepreneurs are awaiting approval from the town where they want to locate.
Another 477 people have started the application process online, but haven’t submitted any paperwork to the state yet.
“If each of those pre-qualifications applications blossom into license applications, we’ll continue to grow,” Brisbo said.
The licensing board’s next meeting is on March 22 and