During a discussion set for a vote before a September 15th deadline, medical marijuana dispensaries may have to shut their doors if they want them to be open in the future, the Marijuana Licensing Board suggested on Monday.
The initial motion was proposed by disgruntled board member Donald Bailey, who recommended that if the dispensaries didn’t shut their doors by September 15th, they shouldn’t be allowed to open them again under the new dispensary licensing system set to be put in place December 15th.
Bailey’s reasoning came from a 2013 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that said all dispensaries were operating illegally. This action, however, is strongly opposed by the medical marijuana community, patients and activists alike.
Patients without caregivers want to know where and how they are to obtain their medicine during that time. Did lawmakers want them to go back to the black market, they wondered? Dispensary owners are also at a loss, as shutting down business not only could be a financial hardship, but having only two weeks to do it is a hardship of time.
Before the Monday meeting and Bailey’s suggestions, there were no slated changes to dispensaries until December, when a new licensing system is set to be implemented after a state law passed last year requiring it to be so.
PhD candidate at Michigan State University, Mark Gibson, lives with degenerative bone disease and is a medical marijuana patient as well. He approached the board requesting that they consider patient access before making their final decision.
Gibson said he spoke on behalf of patients, not businesses, “ensuring that they have continuous access.”
The vote is postponed for now as, with one member absent, Bailey didn’t have the votes to implement his motion on Monday. And if such a proposal were to pass, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said there would have to be a review.
The next Marijuana Licensing Board meeting isn’t slated until October 12th, but the board will meet again before September 15th to consider once more the shutdown of all dispensaries in the state.
The regulations and a licensing program for medical marijuana dispensaries must be implemented by December 15th.
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