Michigan reverses position, decides to extend medical cannabis deadline

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Michigan plans to extend a Sept. 15 deadline for some existing operators to receive their permanent medical marijuana licenses in a bid to avert tumult in one of the country’s largest MMJ markets.

“We’ve heard a lot of concerns over the past month and we want to make sure those concerns are heard and considered and we take appropriate action,” Andrew Brisbo, director of the state MMJ regulatory bureau, told The Detroit News.

He said Michigan should have details Tuesday about which businesses would qualify for the extension and how long the extension would be.

Brisbo previously had been adamant that the Sept. 15 deadline would stick, despite concerns the market was headed for chaos. MMJ companies without a permanent license from the state would have been required to shut down until they received one.

Before Monday, only seven dispensaries had been granted permanent licenses under the new, stricter regulatory structure.

At its monthly meeting Monday, the state MMJ licensing board approved another 21 operating licenses, including 12 dispensaries.

Here’s the breakdown of permanent licenses issued so far:

  • 19 dispensaries (called medical marihuana provisioning centers, using the state’s preferred spelling)
  • 7 growers
  • 4 processors
  • 4 testing facilities
  • 3 transporters

Providers, patients and even a group of lawmakers had appealed for an extension.

Marijuana Business Factbook 2018 projects MMJ sales could hit $325 million-$425 million this year, depending on the amount of market disruption that occurs during the transition to the new regulatory system.

That would represent about triple the estimated sales of $100 million-$150 million in 2017.