Midwest Update for Medical Cannabis in Michigan and Ohio

Midwest Update: Michigan Faces Challenges but Goes Full Steam Ahead while Ohio Still Faces Delays.
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Michigan’s medical marijuana industry is gearing up for yet more chaos, including possible product shortages and revenue losses to the black market…unless state regulators approve many more business licenses by next month’s deadline.

So far, regulators have approved only 16 medical cannabis licenses, including seven dispensaries, under a the state’s regulatory regime that’s been bogged down in part by strict financial disclosure requirements, reports Marijuana Business Daily.

There is one more application review meeting scheduled before the Sept. 15 deadline, when all existing businesses without a permanent license from the state will be required to shut down until they get one.

Some of the concerns facing Michigan’s medical cannabis industry, in what is potentially the country’s largest MMJ market include demand outweighing supply (Michigan has more medical marijuana patients per capita than any state in the entire country) and the usual patchwork of local rules, which officials are hope will be ironed out by the extending the Sept. 15 deadline.

It’s uncertain how many dispensaries are operating with temporary local approval, but it is believed to be little more than 100 statewide, according to Rick Thompson, of Michigan’s NORML.

Meanwhile in Ohio, even if voters in the southern town of Norwood approve a medical cannabis measure, Norwood police have said they will continue to make marijuana arrests and charge offenders under state law.

“This [ballot initiative] deals with Norwood’s codified ordinance and doesn’t have anything to do with state law,” police Chief William Kramer told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We really wouldn’t change how we do things. We would simply charge them under state code.”

Ohio's Medical Marijuana Control Program, which covers 21 qualifying conditions, is supposed to launch Sept. 8, but is now expecting to serve patients on a limited basis by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, dispensaries are setting up around the state and more processing and testing facilities have been given provisional permits to proceed with their plans.

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