The Licensing Board for the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) met for the third time on September 12. The much-anticipated Board meeting followed a highly controversial meeting one month prior where the discussion about a shutdown of all cannabis-related businesses across the state was hotly debated and discussed.
During the September 12 meeting the Director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, Andrew Brisbo, told the crowd that the BMMR is not ordering a shutdown of the facilities but is instead issuing an advisory to all potential applicants for MMFLA businesses.
The MMFLA will license cultivation, processing, testing, transport and distribution operation for Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Program (MMP), which services over 262,000 registered patients. Those industries currently exist in the state as unregistered entities.
The Brisbo warning was issued to those unregistered current entities which may want to gain state licensure under the MMFLA program. The BMMR and their parent Department, Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), will begin accepting applications for the MMFLA program on December 15th.
That is also the date cited by Brisbo: any applicant who currently operates a business in one of the five categories must abandon that business by December 15 or their ability to secure a state-issued license will experience a “potential impediment.”
Although this stipulation was labeled as overly harsh by the majority of Michigan citizens testifying during the public comment portion of the meeting, at least one man was angry that the regulation did not go into effect earlier and that the Brisbo statement was not more definitive in it’s declaration of discrimination.
Former Michigan State Police sergeant Don Bailey, a Board member, had originally proposed the statewide shutdown at a previous Board meeting. Based on discussions at the August meeting and the agenda for the September 12th meeting, the issue appeared to be ready for renewed discussion and a Board vote.
LARA and the BMMR preempted that vote and almost completely eliminated the Board debate on the subject by issuing a press release just hours prior to the September 12th meeting. That press release declared the December 15th date and established the danger to businesses of continuing operation after then as a “significant impediment” to gaining a license.
Bailey had argued previously in favor of a September 15th date for a total statewide mandated shutdown, and that failure to comply would absolutely result in a loss of applicant status. Director Brisbo said his department had consulted with the Attorney General’s office and this was the decision they had arrived at. Bailey’s weak objections were given little attention and made no change to the policy outlined in the press release.
Many attendees had significant comments regarding the December 15th date, the length of time many patients would be without medicinal cannabis, and what they described as an inhumane attitude toward the continuing needs of the state’s most ill and injured.
The full video of the September 12th meeting can be seen at: