The vast number of hoops through which provisioning center owners must jump in order to get licensed through the state is like witnessing an act from the Circus of the Absurd.
If there were such a thing.
But ever since Proposal 1 passed last fall, state regulators have mastered yo-yo politics by repeatedly imposing and then lifting deadlines for businesses to get a state license.
This particular brand of madness came to a stop on April 30th though when a Michigan Court of Claims judge managed to stop the state from enforcing yet ANOTHER deadline.
That means unlicensed provisioning centers can stay open. For now, at least.
Why Unlicensed Provisioning Centers Can Stay Open
It all comes down to what the judge ruled.
He issued injunctions against the state’s March 31 deadline – saying that the state could not revoke provisional licenses.
So what is a provisional license?
When a provisioning center first receives a denial by the new Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), it is not the final word. At this stage, it is considered a preliminary, and not a final, determination.
There is an interim period that follows where those seeking licensure can appeal that decision. This can take months and is considered a provisional licensed time.
The judge’s new ruling permits all facilities to continue to operate under these temporary provisional licenses.
Then, should the MRA make a final determination on a license and deny it again, the applicant doesn’t have to get out of Dodge right away. He or she still has 60 days to operate before shuttering the doors and windows.
Why the Judge Ruled As He Did
We’re in the business of cannabis marketing, not reading minds. But this isn’t a deep psychological quandary.
The judge was quite forthright in his estimation that the state’s deadlines were arbitrary and capricious and that they violated due process.
And in regards to how the state has handled applications, he stirred in a couple more colorful adjectives – freakish and whimsical. He noted that it was also prone to sudden change.
Furthermore, the judge also dismissed complaints from licensed medical pot facilities who opposed temporary state rules allowing untested marijuana into the medical marijuana market.
And finally, he denied motions in a lawsuit filed by two corporate medical marijuana growers who are seeking to force the state to abide by the law and to cut out caregivers from the regulated supply chain. They alleged that the failure to enforce testing would make the purchase of untested caregiver product less expensive.
These two growers will likely appeal this decision though – putting the future of caregiver marijuana at risk. Only time will tell how that plays out.
These Are Unsettled Times in Michigan’s Cannabis Industry
It’s certainly been something of a maelstrom.
But thanks to the judge, at least unlicensed marijuana businesses can now stay open while the state reviews their applications. And as for shops that don’t get licenses, the state can’t shut down ‘em down until 60 days after a final decision from regulators.
So there’s some justice, at least.
To stay in the know on the latest in the cannabis industry – in both Michigan and beyond – keep checking back with our blog.