Michigan’s once-thriving medical marijuana industry is now a shell of its former self, the result of a recent court ruling that essentially makes it illegal to sell pot from storefront dispensaries.
Hundreds of medical weed shops have closed in the past few weeks, and the dozens still operating risk raids and criminal prosecution.
Pot supporters are hoping the Michigan Supreme Court will decide to hear an appeal filed by dispensary owners – a last-ditch effort to save the medical marijuana industry. But for now, the state and individual cities are dismantling the MMJ infrastructure.
The latest move along these lines: Lansing, which was readying the runway for the launch dispensaries, has decided to refund the $1,000-$1,600 in fees that several dozen potential owners paid to apply for licenses. That’s tens of thousands of dollars in refunds, some of which would have been used to fill the city’s coffers.
Lansing started accepting applications for licenses this year. But it halted the process before granting any licenses in light of the court decision, which ruled that individuals and dispensaries cannot distribute medical marijuana if money is involved.
City officials said issuing refunds is the “right thing to do,” as they no longer have to use the money to oversee the creation of dispensaries.
So what will the owners do with the money now that they can’t open a dispensary? Some say they will fork it all over to help fund legal fees tied to the appeal.