Patients concerned over fate of marijuana dispensaries

Posted at 7:29 AM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 09:46:28-04

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Board met Tuesday and did not pass a resolution to force medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to shut down by September 15th.

Four of the five board members agreed with the department of Licensing and Regulatory Affair's (LARA) decision to start the new licensing process on December 15th.

This means that current dispensaries need to close before that date or they could risk hurting their chances of getting a license under the new system.

It's still unclear what the licensing requirements would be, who would be able to get a license and how long it would take to get one.

Patients who depend on medical marijuana are concerned about not having access to their medicine as this new licensing process takes effect.

"A lot patients right now are asking themselves. Do I need to stock up. Am I okay. Is my caregiver gonna have enough", said Jason Durham, a patient and a caregiver.

Another concern is how it will be decided who will get the new licenses.

"I'm very concerned that the dispensaries are just going to end up being run by big business and that the mom and pop shops are just gonna go. They make the rules so difficult and the cost. I know a couple dispensaries in Lansing are already run by big business and I'm afraid that's what's gonna take over", said Karen Spitler, a patient.

People who depend on medical marijuana don't know what they will do if their dispensary shuts down or if it takes the state a while to approve licenses.

"I'm definitely concerned about safe access, I'm concerned about where I'm gonna get my medicine, how I am gonna be able to take care of my kids, I can't get up off the floor in the morning", said Katie Preece, a patient.

Each board member will be part of a work group along with dispensary owners, patients, and caregivers to work to make recommendations for the medical marijuana licensing requirements.