Cannabis Board Proposes Shutting Down Every Collective in Michigan

Former police sergeant and board member of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board Donald Bailey recently stated that he wants to shut down every medical cannabis collective in Michigan by September 15, if they wish to remain open in the future. The rest of the board ultimately tabled the former police officer’s proposal.

Bailey’s proposal orders collectives to close by September 15 if they want to be eligible to receive a license under Michigan’s new medical cannabis regulatory system, which goes into effect on December 15.

Bailey cited a February 8, 2013 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that deemed all medical cannabis collectives illegal. “Every dispensary that’s out there right now is open in violation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act,” Bailey said at the August 21 board meeting. Before the meeting, most patients had assumed that any changes affecting collectives wouldn’t start happening until December.

Attendees at the first meeting of the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board on June 26 immediately questioned the bias behind the appointment of former Michigan State Police sergeant Donald Bailey to the board. Some attendees who spoke out had been personally raided  by Bailey. Bailey’s statement Tuesday determines he indeed wants to continue to raid medical cannabis collectives.

Attorney Jeff Schroeder said that the licensing board is not a law enforcement agency, and it should be focused on licensing new commercial entities. Jason Moon, a spokesperson from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, said that the department would conduct a thorough review involving the Attorney General’s office if the proposal is to pass.

A fairly similar regulatory change happened in Washington, when the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB-5052) took effect on July 1, 2016. All Washington dispensaries without an I-502 recreational license were shut down. According to plan, 222 new retail licenses were intended to replace over 1,500 medical cannabis dispensaries. Hundreds of dispensaries were forced to close. It left patients, the people who need cannabis the most, without access to cannabis.

Medical cannabis was legalized in Michigan almost a decade ago in 2008. The initial lack of regulations eventually led to swarms of cannabis collectives in areas like Detroit’s Eight Mile Road, which has caused multiple attempts to limit the number of collectives.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for October 12, however the board could consider the ban before September 15.

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