Earlier this year, the state delivered cease-and-desist letters to more than 200 medical marijuana businesses; more than 150 of those businesses are in Detroit.
Despite those letters, a handful of those businesses are still operating without authorization from the state.
“We’re not regulating those that aren’t subjecting themselves to licensure, and eventually I think law enforcement will take action to start cleaning those up,” said Andrew Brisbo, the director who oversees the marijuana division of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Brisbo expects the first licenses for authorized marijuana businesses to be approved next month. The board that grants licenses will begin to receive more details at their July 12 meeting on several hundred businesses that have completed pre-licensing steps and have been subject to extensive background checks.
It’s a bit confusing because there has been a legal gray area that allowed medical marijuana businesses to operate before the steps to properly obtain a license were laid out. Essentially, emergency rules are in place that allow businesses linked to medical marijuana to operate if they’re up to date with the licensing process — those rules were extended once because the sheer amount of time it takes to vet businesses to license them.
As for those who’ve received a cease and desist letter, they’ve been warned that it will negatively effect their chances at legally obtaining a license if they didn’t shut down. It’s unknown whether police plan to physically shut them down since they’re operating outside of the legal realm at this point.
7 Action News stopped by two shops that appear on the list of businesses that appear on the state’s website that have been served a cease and desist letter.
One of those businesses, Green Leaf Extended Care on Joy Drive, said the owner wasn’t available to speak. After multiple attempts to reach the owner, employees began to hang up the phone when questions about the operation were asked — in-person it’s easy to see operations are still underway. More than a dozen people could be seen coming and going from the business, while customers willingly admitted to buying marijuana inside.
A second business, The Clinic Detroit, appears on the state’s cease and desist list too. An employee denied that the business was ever served a letter to stop operations, and when cameras were not rolling, he invited 7 Action News inside to show off paperwork including a city of Detroit business license and payments made to the Department of Licenses and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) from February. However, the cease and desist letters came out more than a month later.
LARA doesn’t comment on specific businesses, but has said that they’ve spent extensive time educating the businesses that were operating in the gray area prior to the implementation of Michigan’s new laws overseeing medical marijuana.