Last week was the deadline for medical marijuana dispensary owners in Lansing to apply for a license with the city.
Tonight.. those who didn’t turn in the application are being forced to shut down.
86 applications were turned in to the Lansing City Clerk’s office for medical marijuana dispensary licenses last week.
City officials say those who applied are allowed to continue operating for now, but those who didn’t and chose to stay open could face thousands of dollars in fines.
“This is it for them. So they’ve had kind of a free run, they’ve been in a relatively unregulated environment and now that environment is being regulated,” says Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
In an executive order issued by Mayor Bernero earlier this month, medical marijuana provisioning centers can continue to operate as long as they applied for a license with the city.
But if owners didn’t apply, they must have shut down by 5pm tonight or could face a $1,000 fine each day.
“They will get a cease and desist letter, then if they don’t comply we’ll be seeking court action,” says Mayor Bernero.
Under the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, only 25 provisioning centers will be issued licenses in Lansing.
City officials say 86 dispensary applications were turned in before the deadline last week, all consisting of nearly 500 pages and costing owners a hefty fee of $5,000.
“Anybody in a regulated market, it doesn’t matter what you do, has to go through these types of hoops as well,” says Owner of Greenwave Provisioning Center, Thomas Mayes.
Mayes says though the process was extensive, he didn’t hesitate to apply.
“Besides the fact that it’s our business and it’s what we do, we also employ about 15 employees here so half of them are full time. We have a lot of people depending on having a job here,” says Mayes.
Greenwave can stay open during the assessment process, but Mayes is not out of the woods just yet.
Officials say those who applied for a license with the city must also apply for one with the state by mid-February.
“This is a transition period where this new industry is facing new regulations and everybody is just going to have to roll with the punches,” says Mayor Bernero.
For Mayes, he says no matter what happens he’s prepared.
“We’ve definitely taken all the right steps to make sure we are one of the top 25,” says Mayes.
Because of the large amount of applications turned in, city officials say it will take anywhere from several weeks to months until those 25 licenses are issued.
For more information on Lansing’s medical marijuana ordinance, visit the city’s website.