Cannabis dispensaries in Michigan were required to apply for a license by February 15 and those who didn’t are being ordered to close. “Personnel from the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Division Enforcement Section accompanied by Michigan State Police troopers have begun physically serving cease and desist letters to marijuana businesses that are not in compliance with Emergency Rule 19,” said press representative for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs David Harns.

Bill Weinberg of CannabisNow said dispensaries were originally scheduled to close statewide by December 15. This left medical marijuana cardholders in fear that they wouldn’t be able to receive their medicine while licenses were being issued. Weinberg said state authorities listened to cardholders concerns and extended the deadline to February 15, but a lot of dispensaries still didn’t apply for a license.

“We did 40 [dispensaries] today all throughout the state and there will be hundreds more,” Harns told the Detroit Free Press. He said authorities didn’t confiscate products when delivering letters but dispensaries who refuse to shut down risk losing their right to receive a license in the future and could possibly face penalties or sanctions. Weinberg said these dispensaries are facing issues because they need approval from both state and municipal authorities, but the local regulations in Detroit are being held up by litigation.

The Detroit Free Press reported 378 cannabis business licenses are pending with state authorities and waiting to hear from municipal authorities. They say there are also 117 pending state applications in Michigan that already have such local approval and will be all set as soon as the new regulatory system goes into effect.

In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act which was supposed to reboot the dispensary system. It appears the implementation of this Act has caused controversy within the medical marijuana community and hasn’t made business easy for dispensaries, leaving a lot of them in the legal “gray zone.”