Lansing — Medical marijuana businesses seeking state licenses will have an extra three months to obtain approvals from the state.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Wednesday extended the deadline under which existing businesses could operate without a license from June 15 to Sept. 15.
“Extending the deadline to Sept. 15th will make sure that this law is implemented correctly and assure that potential licensees are thoroughly reviewed,” LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said in a statement. “It is important that we ensure that medical marijuana patients have continued access to their medicine.”
License applicants who submitted their applications by Feb. 15 had faced a June 15 deadline to get licensed or risk closure.
The extended deadline of Sept. 15 allows the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation more time to investigate and authorize applications from hundreds of entrepreneurs seeking to participate in the industry.
The board has given zero licenses so far, but has approved 12 out of nearly 460 pre-qualification applications filed since December. Businesses also must pass a facility inspection to get licenses.
Applicants have worried about the slow pace as the deadline loomed and existing facilities faced closure. Other applicants said the delays stalled major facility or equipment investments.
The bureau has 14 staffers reviewing license applications, a 10-stage process that can take months for each case, including a required review by a contract investigation firm and an intelligence work-up by the Michigan State Police. There are another 14 state field staffers involved in the application process.