Medical cannabis patients in Michigan will be left out in the cold come December

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Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Michigan officials are giving medical cannabis businesses until Dec. 15 to close in time for a new regulatory system to come into effect.

The new regulations aim at increasing industry oversight and imposing new taxes. If dispensaries refuse to close, they risk not receiving a license under the revised program.

The new five-tiered licensing system will be developed under a 2016 law which imposes a 3 percent tax on dispensaries and establish licenses to grow, process, sell, transport or test cannabis.

After Dec. 15, registered patients will be forced to grow their own cannabis or obtain it from caregivers until the state begins to issue licenses early next year.

Andrew Brisbo, director of Michigan’s medical cannabis bureau, said three months affords enough time for existing operations to settle their affairs and for patients to connect with caregivers.

“The department will not shut down facilities,” Brisbo added. “However, continued operation is a business risk as they may be shut down by law enforcement or denied licensure.”