- After LARA’s new emergency rules, 98 Michigan dispensaries were going to be forced to close
- This massive amount of closed dispensaries would have caused major issues for patients
- Judge Stephen Borrello issued an injunction that forced LARA to extend the deadline a third time
In response to the latest set of emergency rules enacted by LARA, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello issued an injunction preventing 98 medical marijuana dispensaries from closing. Judge Borrello said, “stop treating temporarily operating medical marijuana businesses differently based on whether the business filed a step 2 application more than 90 days in the past.”
These emergency rules would have forced any applicant that did not submit a step 2 application to close and liquidate their products. If these businesses didn’t comply, they would have been met with a cease and desist letter from the state.
Borrello’s ruling forced the BMMR to extend the application for a third time, to December 15, something BMMR director Andrew Brisbo was adamantly against. This gives municipalities like Detroit and Flint time to catch up on crucial paperwork that would allow business owners to complete the step 2 application.
The injunction was made in response to a claim filed by Denise Pollicella, on behalf of Montrowe LLC, a Jackson area provisioning center. Pollicella argued that the reason they weren’t able to complete step 2 applications is due to delays at the municipal level. Neither Detroit or Flint even had ordinances on the books before the previous deadline of June 15. This is a very similar situation to what happened in February, after nearly 200 dispensaries were forced to close their doors.
Since December 15, 2017, the state has received an impressive 702 medical marijuana facilities applications. However, only 401 of them are considered complete (including step 2). The other 301 applicants are likely waiting for lagging municipalities to catch up, just as Montrowe LLC is.
LARA failed to take into account the economic implications that these emergency rules carried. Every employee of each provisioning center would have been out of work. Furthermore, if the emergency rules were enforced, Montrowe LLC would have had to liquidate roughly $500,000 worth of product in two days to comply, something that is most likely impossible. All 98 dispensaries that would have seen themselves in a similar situation: massive amounts of illegal product and a very small window to comply.
Additionally, this high number of dispensaries closing would have left a significant chunk of Michigan’s nearly 300,000 patients without access to their medication. The BMMR’s proposed medical marijuana delivery plan likely wouldn’t be enough to replace 98 dispensaries worth of market share.
Pollicella commented, “the only rationale for the implementation of this rule is an attempt to close as many facilities as possible.”