State will let marijuana shops stay open, for now

By  | 

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- Thousands of medical marijuana dispensaries will not be forced to close next month while they apply for a state license.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reversed its stance, after previously giving dispensaries until December 15 to close or risk losing a chance at a license. The department will now allow shops to stay open during the licensing process.

That comes with conditions. Shops must apply for a license by February 15 and they if the state rejects the application, the dispensary must close immediately.

The decision is bringing relief to dozens of dispensaries already open in Lansing, where many owners were concerned they couldn't afford to be out of business while they waited to see if they got a license.

According to the state, patients were at the center of this decision. The department says it got hundreds of complaints from patients concerned about where they'd get their medication during licensing.

"Without this medicine, I have a double spine infusion, I would be locked in bed. I wouldn't be able to get out bed to do my daily duties," said Jason Durhamn, one the patients who pushed the state to change its policy. "You could stock up on three months to wait until this is over with, three months worth of medicine will put you past your legal limit that you are allowed to possess,"

License applications will start to be accepted December 15.

The state is bracing for a slew of applications to grow and sell medical marijuana come next month, so far more than 2,000 people signed up for information sessions on how to get a license.