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Michigan judge slams LARA over marijuana licensing, denies motions to block caregiver sales


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On Tuesday, Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello ruled against the state regarding setting a date for unlicensed provisioning centers to cease operating. In addition, Borrello took officials at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to task, calling them "ill-equipped" for the job and their approach to license applications "apt to sudden change, freakish, or whimsical." He also said that a series of state-announced deadlines had been a "bait and switch" for businesses.

Borrello's ruling allows temporarily operating provisioning centers to stay open until their applications with the state have been decided, and they have 60 days beyond that to appeal the decision before closing.

"All of this is affecting the 50 temporary operators who applied over a year ago," says attorney Matt Abel, executive director of MI NORML. "It's about time they wrapped up their applications one way or another."

Borrello also denied motions brought by representatives of High Life Farms and Green Peak Innovations that would have disallowed caregivers from selling marijuana into the supply chain. The judge left it up to the state to determine that question.
The state Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would set June 1 as the cutoff date for caregiver supplies. HB 4440 passed by a 101-4 vote in the state House last week. Such little opposition indicates that the governor supports the legislation and something similar should take place in the Senate.

Also, the governor's office is expected to reveal draft rules for adult use recreational marijuana in June. There are rumors that recreational sales could start as early as this fall.

"It seems things are moving more quickly," says Abel. "It seems that Gov. Whitmer has taken some action that was helpful."

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