Whitmer, citing 'inefficiencies,' reshapes pot licensing

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is abolishing Michigan's medical marijuana licensing board and folding its functions into a newly created regulatory agency.

The Democrat issued an executive order Friday to create the Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

She says her order will "eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan's medical marijuana patients."

The board has been criticized as too slow to issue licenses to businesses following a law that instituted a tiered regulatory system. Whitmer's order will take effect April 30 unless it is rejected by the Republican-led Legislature.

Whitmer says she received "productive input" from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey on the issue.

The new agency also will oversee licensing in the recreational marijuana market after voters' approval last fall of recreational pot use.

Attorney General Dana Nessel praised Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order, saying: “I support Governor Whitmer’s executive order establishing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. A dedicated state agency that can administer the functions and responsibilities under the medical and recreational (adult-use) marijuana statutes will create numerous efficiencies, including faster processing of marijuana applications, and better serve medical marijuana patients and the developing industry.”