Judge stops MI regulators from enforcing medical cannabis licensing deadline

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Michigan medical cannabis, Judge stops MI regulators from enforcing medical cannabis licensing deadline

A judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order preventing Michigan from closing dozens of medical marijuana businesses that don’t have a license under the state’s new regulatory framework.

The order comes just a day after the state’s regulators said they planned to begin delivering cease-and-desist letters on Nov. 1 to businesses that continue to operate without having received a license.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello wrote the plaintiffs in the case are likely to succeed in their argument that the state’s decision to shorten the licensing deadline from Dec. 15 to Oct. 31 was “arbitrary and capricious.”

The judge has ordered state regulators to appear at a Nov. 9 hearing to show otherwise.

It’s unclear how many medical marijuana companies currently are operating without a new license, but roughly 215 MMJ businesses had approval earlier this year to temporarily operate, after more than 200 others were shut down.

Of that 215, some have received a permanent license, others have been denied one, while many remain in the application process, state MMJ program spokesman David Harns wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily.

Here’s the latest information on what is happening in the state:

  • Michigan approved 14 additional MMJ licenses at a meeting Monday and has now issued 64 MMJ licenses under the new statewide regulatory system. The licensees include 37 dispensaries, 12 growers, eight processors, four testing facilities and three transporters.
  • There are still 337 pending facility license applications, according to state figures.
  • Advocates have been concerned about access to supply during the transition to the new regulatory system, but Michigan officials say that more than 80% of the state’s MMJ cardholders live in a county within 30 miles of a dispensary. As of Oct. 1, Michigan had 297,515 registered patients.
  • Michigan has launched an online patient registration and physician certification system to make it easier and more efficient for people to register for MMJ.