More than 200 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries closed by state

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Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs ordered the closure of 210 dispensaries and other medical marijuana businesses that failed to apply for a state license by the mid-February deadline.

It is a big problem for pot shop owners across the state with most in Detroit the state forcing more than 200 marijuana dispensaries to close.

"The state is continuing to clamp down on unlicensed businesses," said attorney Matt Abel, Cannabis Council. "My concern is that patients who may have been relying on some of these facilities for medicine may be left out and may have a hard time accessing the medicine they need."

RELATED: Michigan closes 210 medical marijuana shops, 150 in Detroit

While Michigan is in the process of licensing marijuana businesses, emergency rules allow businesses to stay open while seeking a license if they have the approval of their local community.

"The problem with that is, the city of Detroit has passed a six-month moratorium where they are not processing any applications."

Abel, the founder and senior partner of Cannabis Council, says the marijuana business owners who received cease and desist letters were not under what the state calls Emergency Rule 19. That temporary operations procedure only available to facilities that were open and operating before December 15th of last year.

"Business people who sat it out waiting for it to be legal are being frozen out of this market," Abel said.

The list includes about 150 businesses in Detroit and others in Lansing, Flint and northern Michigan.
FOX 2: "Some people might say I think it's great these pot shops are closing down."

"People are going to obtain medicine one way or another," Abel said. "It is like whack-a-mole. If you push one down, it will pop up somewhere else."

A spokesperson for the state says the legislation that passed in 2016 to regulate the medical marijuana market is aimed at providing safe access to medicine for the state's roughly 277,000 medical marijuana card-holders. 

But Abel says these closures are having the opposite effect.

"As we close more and more dispensaries, there will be more black market, more backroom deals," he said. 

Meanwhile there are about 215 medical marihuana facilities that turned in a state application by the deadline and are able to operate while they go through the licensing process.

For the list of dispensaries forced to close: CLICK HERE.