Michigan lawmakers set June 1 medical cannabis licensing deadline

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Michigan’s Legislature is intervening in a long-running legal dispute over unlicensed medical marijuana shops, pushing to enact a firm deadline for the businesses to close or risk their ability to get a permit.

The House voted 102-4 in favor of legislation that would prevent unlicensed facilities that stay open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year. The legislation now goes to the state’s Senate for consideration.

The move comes after a judge last month issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a March 31 deadline that had been set by state regulators who are more tightly regulating the MMJ industry under a 2016 law.

“I think what this does is really clarifies that there’s a point in time at which we have to move from an unregulated market to a regulated market, from unlicensed operators to licensed operators,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jim Lilly.

Licensing deadlines have been extended numerous times over the past year because of court action and other reasons, including regulators requiring more time to thoroughly evaluate potential licensees and concerns about a medical marijuana shortage.

Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello heard arguments this week in several consolidated lawsuits against the state over the licensing deadlines. He is expected to rule soon.

– Associated Press