Michigan’s licensed medical marijuana businesses are starting to push back against the state’s apparent willingness to allow unlicensed dispensaries to stay open.
They plan to rally at the state capitol on Wednesday.
For months, operators of dozens of unlicensed provisioning centers convinced state regulators to extend deadlines to require that they obtain a state license to operate. When the state set a firm March 31st deadline, the dispensaries convinced a Court of Claims judge to issue a stay. The judge is expected to issue a ruling this week which may allow the unlicensed centers to keep their doors open.
The unlicensed centers say, if they are forced to close, tens of thousands of medical marijuana patients will have nowhere to go to get their medicine.
But the CEO of one licensed medical marijuana business says “enough is enough.”
Jeff Radway is the CEO of Green Peak Innovations. The company operates two grow and processing facilities in the Lansing area.
Radway says his business is sitting on 2,000 pounds of unsold marijuana flower. He says extended deadlines for unlicensed companies have resulted in canceled orders, as some dispensaries opt for less expensive, untested cannabis products.
“We’re at a point where the market is not transitioning to a regulated, legal, tested safe market,” says Radway.
Licensed medical marijuana companies are launching an expensive advertising blitz to put pressure on state elected officials to close the unlicensed businesses.
State lawmakers are debating a bill to set a firm June 1st deadline for medical marijuana businesses to get a state license. If businesses miss that deadline, they may be forced to wait a year before being able to apply again. HB 4440 sailed through the state House. The state Senate Judiciary and Public Safety committee plan to take up the bill on Thursday.
But Radway says he is concerned the Legislature may fail to pass the bill, another court may block a future deadline or the Whitmer administration may allow unlicensed centers to stay open.