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Michigan Decides To Let Pot Shops Stay Open

Thanks to the diligent work of lawyers, activists and advocates, Michigan decides to let pot shops stay open during the license application process.

Chloé Harper Gold

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Michigan Decides To Let Pot Shops Stay Open

In an act of mercy, Michigan has decided to let pot shops stay open. It’s been a crazy battle between anti-cannabis boards and pro-cannabis lawyers and activists. But ultimately, the side of good prevailed. Here are the details.

Michigan’s Medical Marijuana

Michigan Decides To Let Pot Shops Stay Open

Michigan has had a medical marijuana program in place since 2008 when state residents voted in favor of it. Ever since then, there has been a huge influx of medical marijuana dispensaries opening up in the state. Particularly in the Greater Detroit Area, in which there is a sizeable concentration.

In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in the state of Michigan, interested patients must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:

  • HIV/AIDS,
  • Cancer,
  • Glaucoma,
  • ALS,
  • PTSD,
  • Hepatitis C,
  • Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Nail-patella syndrome,
  • Crohn’s disease,
  • Any chronic or debilitating condition that causes cachexia, severe and chronic pain, seizures, severe nausea and/or severe and persistent muscle spasms.

Given this list of qualifying conditions, one would think that having a lot of dispensaries in a single state would be a good thing. Right?

After all, having more dispensaries typically indicates more access to medical cannabis. And if there are a lot of dispensaries within state lines, this might mean that the people who depend on medical weed to alleviate their illnesses and conditions won’t have to travel as far to get their medicine.

But, of course, not everyone sees it that way. The state is not uniformly pro-cannabis.

The Legislation

Michigan Decides To Let Pot Shops Stay Open

To alleviate growing concerns about the sheer number of dispensaries opening up, the state government decided to implement new regulations for dispensaries. Basically, to operate legally, all dispensary owners must obtain a proper license. The application process for such licenses begins December 15.

Even if dispensary owners get all their paperwork in by December 15, there would be no definite timeline for approval.

The other thing is that Michigan’s Licence and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) department has proposed another roadblock. The original plan to accompany these new state regulations involved compelling operating dispensaries to shut down until LARA granted the owners a license.

This would not only upend businesses and set a dangerous precedent, it would also actively deny medical marijuana patients their medication. As soon as word got out about this dastardly plot, lawyers and cannabis activists put their noses to the grindstone. They have worked tirelessly to combat this ridiculous, and frankly discriminatory, legislation.

And it worked!

The news broke yesterday: Michigan decides to let pot shops stay open! The owners of existing dispensaries still must apply for the proper licensure by LARA. Additionally, they must prove that they are operating with the approval of their local governments.

Final Hit: Michigan Decides To Let Pot Shops Stay Open

While we should certainly celebrate this victory, we also need to reflect on how we got here. The fact that there are politicians and lawmakers who are so against cannabis that they would actively deny suffering people life-saving medication should anger you. Politicians are not doctors. Therefore, they should have absolutely no say in medicine.

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