Michigan lawmakers call for extension to prevent potential medical marijuana calamity

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A group of Michigan lawmakers asked Gov. Rick Snyder to extend the Sept. 15 deadline for existing businesses to receive their permanent medical marijuana licenses or be required to shut down.

So far, the state has issued only 16 operating licenses under a new, stricter regulatory regime, and many experts say that’s not nearly enough to avert a major disruption in the country’s second largest MMJ market.

A state board overseeing the process has one more application review meeting scheduled before the deadline, Mlive.com reported.

Existing MMJ businesses that don’t have their license by the deadline must close until they get one. The state will issue cease-and-desist letters if necessary to make sure that happens.

As of last week, 347 applications were in the second step of the state’s process and hundreds more were in what’s called the prequalification phase.

State officials have been adamant that they won’t extend the deadline further. It already was extended once, from June 15.

Last week, a state official told Marijuana Business Daily that two-thirds of Michigan’s more than 290,000 registered MMJ patients live within 30 miles of the seven dispensaries licensed so far, and many more provisioning centers will be licensed in the near future.

In addition to the seven dispensaries, four licenses have gone to growers, two to processors, two to testing labs and one to a transport company.

The lawmakers who signed the letter consisted of nine Democrats and only one Republican. The letter also was sent to Shelly Edgerton, Michigan’s director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.