MI: Lansing Backlog Of Marijuana Licenses Have Businesses In Limbo

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Photo Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera

They’ve been waiting for months, but the Green House can’t get the green light.

It is one of hundreds of dispensaries who are waiting for the state of Michigan to formally approve their license so they can open their doors and start selling medical marijuana. So far in Oakland County, Walled Lake, Ferndale, Hazel Park and Orion Township have all acted to allow the sale of it.

Even though those cities have approved it, there is still an application backup for those businesses to get approved. But that could change in July.

The scene is set, storefront ready, lights on, but then the sign says it all: “Open Soon.”

For Jerry Millen, that can’t come soon enough. He has been waiting to open up his medical marijuana shop in Walled Lake. The city opted in, allowing for it to be open there, but there has been a delay.

“Getting a license to process, grow, sell marijuana in Michigan is harder to get than a casino gambling license,” said Millen. “And I’m fine with that. My background is squeaky clean and I think everyone in the industry should have to have a squeaky clean background.”

In Lansing, there’s currently a backlog of close to 600 license applications from across the state.

But the 600 applicants are not all ready to go.  Anyone who wanted to apply could, whether their building is ready or not.  That delay has shops like the Green House sitting and waiting for approval.

Anyone that paid $6,000 could apply. You didn’t have to have a city (behind you), where you’re going to put a building. You didn’t have to have anything. You just pay the $6,000 and unfortunately they made it first come, first serve,” Millen said.

So far close to two dozen medical marijuana shops licenses have been approved in Michigan. Nine were rejected at the last meeting.

The next meeting is in mid-July.  David Harns is a spokesperson for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation.

“The first batch of licenses is expected to be taken to the licensing board on July 12,” said Harns. “So expect the board will likely approve some of them at that time.”

Jerry Millen is hoping his neighbors in Walled Lake understand this shop is here to yes, make some green, but also help the people who live here.

FOX 2: “Talk for a moment about who the people are who would be coming to your store?”

“I want The Greenhouse of Walled Lake to pass the grandma test,” Millen said. “I want a facility where my grandmother using medicinal marijuana can come here and feel safe and nobody has guns and it’s like Bed Bath and Beyond or Pottery Barn in here.

“I want it to be comfortable. I want a parent with a small child to feel comfortable.”

He’s hoping his license will be approved at the state licensing board meeting in July.

“It’s going to be tested, it’s all going to be tested, it’s all going to be safe,” Millen said. “It’s not coming from Larry growing it in his basement anymore and that’s what’s important because you don’t want someone who has lung cancer you don’t want them smoking mold. You don’t want a child smoking arsenic or whatever else could be in the marijuana.

“You want it to be tested.”

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