A large cannabis plant's cola glowing golden in an indoor grow environment.

During the first meeting of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, board member Donald Bailey, a retired State Police sergeant, seemed to suggest that current dispensary operators would not be eligible to receive state licenses under the new regime because they have been breaking the law with their current operations.

“Right now, none of the extracts are legal; none of the dispensaries are legal under state law. It’s black and white,” Bailey said during his remarks. “With the [state] Supreme Court making its ruling two weeks ago, that’s a done deal. So anything that’s open right now isn’t legal. Going forward there’s going to be a new law – they are going to be legal. But if you’ve demonstrated in the past that you’re not going to abide by the law that we did have why do we think – and it’s a rhetorical question – going forward you would abide by the new law.”

Under the new law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2016, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, a division of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, must make applications for cultivators, manufacturers, processors, transporters, laboratories, and dispensaries available by Dec. 15.

During the meeting, Jeff Hank, founder of MI Legalize, said that the new regime needed to be handled in a smooth and open manner in order to prevent “fighting like it’s black Friday.”

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel – we do need a sensible licensing process,” he said, according to an MLive report.

The meeting drew more than 400 people according to reports, with many concerned about current operators and how state regulators would handle the licensing process.

The board is chaired by Rick Johnson, a former Republican state House Speaker, Michigan Board of Pharmacy Chair Nichole Cover, Pickard Group president and CEO Vivian Pickard, and Police Officers’ Association of Michigan board member David LaMontaine.

During the meeting, Johnson said the board has “a lot of things to look at, a lot of things to do.”

“We have nowhere to go today but forward,” he said.

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