Applications now available for medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan


(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Friday is the day medical marijuana dispensaries around Michigan can start applying for licenses under new rules passed earlier this year.

The move is designed to regulate what is now a booming business in Michigan and make the industry safer for everyone, by letting the state oversee those who are growing and selling medical marijuana, rather than having each city regulate it themselves.

Beginning December 15th, the state will start taking applications for growers, processors, transporters and facilities.

Right now, there are more than 275,000 medical marijuana card holders in Michigan. The new law, which takes effect in 2018, will help regulate the process in which they get the drug.

All medical marijuana dispensaries that are operating with local approval right now will still have to apply for a new state license, but they will be allowed to stay open until they are approved.

In Portage, city leaders passed an emergency ordinance that would allow their dispensary to stay open for six months, until they get their licensing through the state.

"My personal belief is it has always been between a patient and their doctor and what is best for them. This is just safe access within our city. It's tested. It's a pure product. And, it is overseen by a medical doctor,” said Portage Mayor Patricia Randall.

Lake Effect Consulting, which operates in Portage says they hope to be licensed by mid-January. They've been consulting with patients and caregivers for about two years and have least 4,000 registered patients in Kalamazoo County.

"We hope that Portage continues on a path of debating ordinances and proper regulation around a product that is so important to so many people in this community,” said Jevin Weyenberg, a manager at Lake Effect Consulting.

To become licensed, dispensaries must fill out at 48 page application that costs $6,000 to file.

Those already in business must apply by February 15th or shut down.

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