Detroit limits medical cannabis licenses; cap should benefit businesses

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Detroit’s City Council unanimously voted to limit the number of medical marijuana facilities within the municipality’s borders to 75 under the state’s new regulatory regime.

Tuesday’s decision will make the MMJ licenses more valuable to businesses than in recent years when the number of dispensaries in Detroit soared, exceeding 200.

Detroit’s corporation counsel, Lawrence Garcia, told The Detroit News the ordinance strikes a good balance between those who want medical marijuana development, and those who want to preserve the city’s character as it was before MMJ came along.

Michigan as a whole and Detroit in particular experienced explosive MMJ market growth, until the state started culling businesses earlier this year as part of the first step of a new licensing process and stricter law.

In April, the state issued roughly 210 cease-and-desist letters to MMJ dispensaries statewide, including 158 in Detroit alone. At the time, that left about 70 MMJ businesses in Detroit, meaning there were more than 200 before the letters were issued.

The businesses that were ordered to shut, according to the state, had either failed to apply in time for new state licenses, applied without conditional local approvals or had filed incomplete applications.

State officials are now reviewing applications and issuing new, permanent medical marijuana licenses.

The process has been slow-going. The state recently extended the deadline to Sept. 15 for existing businesses to receive their new, permanent license from the state or be required to close.

As of July 1, Michigan had 289,205 registered patients in the MMJ program, according to David Harns, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.