Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Medical marijuana shops feel legal pinch in Michigan

If you own a medical marijuana dispensary in Michigan that hasn't yet been licensed by the state, you have a tough choice you have to make: Close up shop until you can get through the process or give up on the chance to have a license forever.

Up until Dec. 31, the state had been legally barred from enforcing other deadlines, pending the resolution of several lawsuits by business owners who were still trying to operate while they waited on the licensing authority to process their applications. The last of those lawsuits ended in a dismissal, which means the state can move forward and enforce the shutdown.

The state's goal is to establish an official medical marijuana market -- complete with regulations and taxes. Dispensary owners, frustrated with the lengthy licensing process and complex application rules, fought the earlier deadlines and kept operating. Now, however, staying open could imperil their ability to gain a license altogether. The new ruling affects about 72 known operations in the state -- down from 215 earlier this year.

Particularly frustrating for owners is the fact that they can pass local licensing requirement and still be stalled by the state. It doesn't take much for an application to be denied. For example, The Reef, one of the most popular dispensaries in the 8 Mile area of Detroit, was denied its state license because of a recent change in ownership and the failure to list a crime on the location.

There are some plans in the works to improve the whole licensing process so that patients can more easily receive their medication -- but those plans are far from certain.

Problems like these can plague any business, but they're particularly common for businesses that require special licenses, like bars, adult entertainment stores and tattoo parlors. Don't let your dreams of a successful business go up in smoke because of a licensing application mistake. An experienced attorney can often help you avoid complicated delays and forced shutdowns during the licensing process.

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Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.
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Rochester Hills, MI 48309

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