On Sept. 26, 2017, Michigan Rep. Yousef Rabhi introduced House Bill 5014, a bill that would allow Michigan medical cannabis dispensaries to stay open while they apply for licensing under the state’s new medical cannabis laws.
The legislation is meant to protect dispensary owners from a directive issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs that requires currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries to shut down by Dec. 15 or risk losing eligibility for new licenses.
Although meant to level the playing field for potential applicants, the move has been widely criticized by medical cannabis advocates, many of whom believe that the policy will force patients to go months without critical medication.
If approved, HB 5014 would establish a timeline for processing license applications and would allow Michigan medical cannabis dispensaries to stay open while they apply for new licenses. The measure would also clarify that operating dispensaries that apply for licensing before February would not be barred from the process.
“Shutting down responsible and beneficial businesses before they have the chance to apply runs counter to the goal of providing reasonable guidelines for medical marijuana businesses,” Rabhi said in a statement. “My bill provides a path for existing businesses to become licensed. Communities will have a choice of allowing medical marijuana businesses to operate or not, and many communities want to see these jobs and small businesses protected.”
According to MLive, Sen. David Knezek intends on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.