Up to six dozen unlicensed medical cannabis businesses in Michigan must close at least temporarily by Dec. 31 or risk not receiving a permanent license under a new, stricter regulatory system, state officials indicated Friday.
Regulators noted in a news release that Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello had dismissed the last pending court case challenging the state’s deadline.
State officials previously had agreed that businesses that had applied for a license under the new regulatory system by Feb. 15 and had local approval could temporarily operate until Dec. 31.
David Harns, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, wouldn’t say if the state would actively enforce the Dec. 31 deadline.
He would say that “it is very important for temporarily operating applicants to understand that any operation after Monday may be considered an impediment to licensure.”
Harns wrote in an email that up to 72 businesses might be affected, “though we don’t truly know if all 72 are currently open.”
Michigan regulators have approved 99 licenses under the new system, including 52 dispensaries. The next meeting to consider license applications is Jan. 16.
Advocates had been concerned about possible supply and access issues during the transition to the new, trimmed-down system. The state once had several hundred dispensaries, although that number was cut roughly in half earlier this year.
To ease supply concerns, Michigan regulators are allowing licensed MMJ businesses to supplement their supplies by buying products from registered caregivers through Dec. 31 and selling those products until Jan. 31, 2019.