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Michigan Pushes to Protect Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Chloé Harper Gold

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Michigan Pushes to Protect Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Despite attempts to shut them down, Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries are safe. For now, anyway. In light of recent legislation regarding cannabis dispensaries in the state, lawyers are stepping in and stepping up to protect not only the businesses but the patients and caregivers who rely on them. And it’s not only lawyers who have their backs. State senators are also getting involved in the fight.

Medical Marijuana in Michigan

In 2008, Michigan residents voted to establish a medical marijuana program in their home state. Ever since this approval, a huge amount of cannabis-loving business owners and social activists have been opening up dispensaries. While these shops are practically everywhere in the state, locals have reported that a substantial percentage of Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries are located in the Greater Detroit Area. Particularly on Gratiot Avenue and the notorious 8 Mile Road.

There’s a high concentration of medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit and in the entire state. Because of this, the government of Michigan deemed it necessary to intervene. Last year, they introduced new legislation regarding dispensaries. To combat the growing number of dispensaries, the state government ruled that all dispensaries needed to have a proper license.

That sounds fairly standard. But there’s a catch: the licensing board will not accept any applications for these licenses until after December 15th of this year. And there’s no guaranteed timeline for approval.

To make the situation even more precarious, the state’s licensing board, known as LARA, has recently released a statement saying that any dispensaries still operating sans license past December 15th will face issues. Specifically, an “impediment” to obtain a license.

Essentially, the state licensing board is aiming to shut down Michigan medical marijuana facilities because of technicalities.

At the very least, they aim to disrupt the business practices of dispensary owners. But this kind of legislation doesn’t only affect business owners. It negatively impacts the patients who depend on medical cannabis.

The Law

Thankfully, there are lawyers who are working to prevent this. One of the attorneys on the case, Jeff Schroeder, assured the public that the state licensing board was not a law enforcement agency. Therefore, the board cannot act as a law enforcement agency.

To further put patients’ minds at ease, two state senators publicly showed their support. Senators Yousef Rabhi and David Knezek announced legislation that would protect medical marijuana dispensaries from the so-called “impediments” that the licensing board has threatened.

Final Hit: Protection for Michigan Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The situation in Michigan is a sticky one. According to concerned politicians and government bodies, there are too many medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. Although they are trying their best to combat this “issue,” it looks like the law might not be on their side. Thanks to activists, advocates and attorneys working diligently, Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries are safe. As of now, the state licensing board cannot threaten them with the proposed “impediments” to shut down their businesses while trying to get approved for a license. And so, for the meantime at least, the state’s medical cannabis patients can rest easy. They will still have access to their medicine after December 15th.

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