Detroit skyline with the MacArthur bridge leading to Belle Isle and Detroit Boat Club in the foreground. Photo taken from Belle Isle fishing pier.

Bryan Debus

Michigan Sends More MMJ Dispensary Cease-and-Desist Letters, Still Haven’t Issued a License

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs have sent cease and desist letters to more than 200 medical cannabis businesses throughout the state over the last two weeks, despite regulators failing to issue a single operator license in the year-and-a-half since the medical cannabis program reforms were signed into law.

According to a Detroit Free Press report, 210 shops received letters from the department, with 159 of them targeting businesses in Detroit. A copy of a cease-and-desist letter published earlier this month by MINORML boardmember Rick Thompson’s Social Revolution indicates that regulators are threatening businesses with licensing ineligibility or law enforcement crackdown if they continue operating.

“A person that does not comply with this rule shall cease and desist operation of a proposed marihuana facility and may be subject to all penalties, sanctions, and remedies under state and federal law, the act, or the Emergency Rules.” – LARA Cease-and-Desist letter, dated Mar. 15, 2018.

According to LARA spokesman David Harns, the targeted dispensaries were discovered using publicly available information such as websites like Weedmaps.

Last week, regulators rejected the first two applications seeking a medical cannabis license – one dispensary and one transport service; and while the medical cannabis licensing board has added two more meetings on top of the five already scheduled to, hopefully, approve operators, they have received more than 500 applications – some 141 full applications that include community approval, with 411 still awaiting municipality approval. Regulators say the additional meetings will help them get through the current backlog.

The next meeting is set for Apr. 19.

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