BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – The state of Michigan on Tuesday gave medical marijuana businesses until Dec. 15 to close or potentially risk not obtaining a license under a new regulatory system aimed at increasing oversight and imposing new taxes on the industry.
The decision means registered patients will have to grow their own pot or obtain it from caregivers — as allowed for under existing law — until the state issues the licenses, likely in the first quarter of next year. It will accept license applications starting Dec. 15.
After learning of the decision, a new state licensing board that met near Lansing on Tuesday, dropped a member’s proposal to tell shops they would not get a license if they stayed open beyond this Friday — which had been criticized by frustrated patients, shop owners and others. They expressed concern, however, with the new deadline as well, questioning how patients will find their marijuana.
The dispensaries — which are not explicitly addressed under a 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana laws — have gone unchecked in some municipalities and have been blocked in others under a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that questioned their legality.
A five-tiered licensing system is being developed under a 2016 law that further regulates medical marijuana. It will impose a new 3 percent tax on provisioning centers and establish licenses to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana.
Roughly 218,000 patients registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 38,000 designated caregivers who can supply a limited number of people. The industry could generate more than $800 million in revenue annually once the new regulations are fully in place, according to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency. That would translate into an estimated $74 million in sales and dispensary taxes.
Andrew Brisbo, director