Michigan Medical Marijuana Retailers Curtailed by Licensing Deadline

Once again cannabis dispensaries are having to evolve with ever changing regulations. This week Michigan medical marijuana retailers were surprised with a shortened deadline to obtain a cannabis business license. Only two weeks ago the licensing deadline was extended to December 15th but is now set for October 31st.

State Shortens Deadline

There has been almost no explanation from state regulators as to why the deadline was pushed up, but Michigan medical marijuana retailers are scrambling to obtain their licenses. As of this week, only 19 cannabis business licenses had been issued but more than 100 existing cannabis business are still awaiting licensing, a large majority being retailers.

Spokesman for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, David Harns remarked that regulators would have a “robust agenda” for the licensing board’s October 18th meeting. According to the emergency rules published on Monday, all applicants who failed to submit their Step 2 applications before the June 15th deadline will not be reviewed at the meeting.

Emergency Cannabis Rules

The new emergency rules also stipulate that all Michigan medical marijuana retailers must close if they haven’t been issued a license by October 31st. Those who do obtain a license by the deadline will need to comply with the state’s monitoring system Metrc. Michigan medical marijuana retailers will be allowed to sell untested cannabis products until November 30th, after that it will need to be destroyed.

David Harns went on to note that the emergency rules, “have the same deadline for all temporary operators, regardless of when they filed their Step 2 application.” Operating in a regulated market has proven increasingly expensive for cannabis businesses. The structure of the supply chain establishes five categories of business licenses for cultivators, processors, testing facilities, transporters and retailers.

State Promises to Speed Up

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has been criticized for their lack of consistency and the slow licensing turnaround. Spokesman Harns promised that, "The pace of approvals and denials will pick up and there will be enough facilities open to serve the needs of the patient population in Michigan."

For now, Michigan medical marijuana retailers must hold their breath to see if the receive their license in time or if they’ll be forced to close their doors. Hopefully the October 18th meeting will be a productive one and many licenses will be issued. One a cannabis retailer acquires their license they should invest in compliant point of sale system that can integrate with Metrc to automate state reporting.

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