, Michigan awards 13 more medical marijuana licenses ahead of Oct. 31 cutoff

Michigan regulators on Thursday issued 13 additional medical marijuana businesses licenses in a bid to boost approvals before an Oct. 31 deadline for the state to implement stricter MMJ regulations.

Regulators are requiring existing MMJ businesses to have their new state licenses by the end of the month, or close until they receive one.

With the latest approvals, the state has now issued a total of 50 licenses in what is one of the country’s largest MMJ markets.

Several hundred applications remain in various stages of the application process, according to state figures. The licensing board has scheduled a meeting for Oct. 29 to issue more licenses before the deadline.

Here’s the breakdown of permanent licenses issued so far under Michigan’s new regulatory framework:

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  • 29 dispensaries, or so-called called medical “marihuana” provisioning centers
  • 9 growers
  • 5 processors
  • 4 testing facilities
  • 3 transporters

Advocates have been concerned about potential disruptions in supply and access as Michigan moves to the new regulatory system. As of Oct. 1, Michigan had 297,515 registered patients, according to state officials.

Michigan medical marijuana program spokesman David Harns noted Thursday that 80% of those MMJ cardholders live in a county within 30 miles of a licensed dispensary.

The initiative to allow existing MMJ businesses to remain open temporarily “was intended as a short-term solution with the goal of maintaining patient access while we moved applicants through the licensing process,” Harns wrote in a statement emailed to reporters.

“That objective has been accomplished.”

However, the number of licenses issued pales in comparison to the several hundred MMJ businesses that were operating earlier this year before regulators started tightening the reins.