MI reverses stance, will let marijuana shops stay open

In this Friday, April 22, 2016 a marijuana bud is seen at a medical marijuana facility in Unity, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Certain medical marijuana businesses will be able to remain open in Michigan while seeking a state license required under a new regulatory system.

The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory reversed course Wednesday after previously giving dispensaries until Dec. 15 to close to avoid potentially not receiving a license. The department and its Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation intend to issue emergency rules this month.

To avoid facing an impediment to licensure, an applicant must be operating in a municipality that has adopted an authorizing ordinance before Dec. 15.

Patients and others had expressed outrage that businesses would be forced to close for months while awaiting a license. State regulator Andrew Brisbo says patients’ concerns about not being able to get their medicine played a “big factor” in the about-face.