By, David Eggert
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan regulators on Sept. 11, 2018, again extended the deadline for medical marijuana businesses to be licensed, allowing 108 facilities to continue operating while warning that 98 others will be issued cease-and-desist letters if they do not close by the end of the week.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed the new emergency rules issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. They allow certain proposed medical marijuana businesses, which would otherwise need a state license, to continue operating until Dec. 15, 2018, as long as they have secured local approval.
Regulators previously ordered the closure of more than 200 other businesses largely because their owners had failed to apply for a license in time or had not received authorization from their municipalities.
This is the third time the licensing deadline has been extended or softened as the state continues the process of more tightly regulating the medical marijuana industry under a 2016 law.
In November 2017, the state allowed businesses to stay open while seeking a license, a reversal after it initially gave dispensary shops a deadline to close or potentially risk not obtaining a required license to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana. Then in May 2018, regulators pushed the deadline from June 15 to Sept. 15, 2018. Now it is Dec. 15, 2018.
Twenty-seven applicants have been approved for licensure but have not been issued a license yet. Ten applicants have received a license but will be able to return it to keep operating under the same rules as unlicensed businesses.
Under the 2008 voter-approved law that authorized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, roughly 297,000 patients have registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 43,000 registered caregivers who can supply a limited number of people.
Michigan voters on Nov. 6, 2018, will also decide whether to legalize recreational cannabis.