PORTAGE, Mich. (WWMT) — Dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries prepared to close their doors Jan. 1. Attorney Devin Loker worked diligently to ensure his client, Lake Effect, and its patients wouldn't have to go without for too long.
"Right now we've got permanent rules that are going forward and temporary rules that have expired as of Dec. 15," Loker said.
He said several existing medical marijuana operations running on temporary licenses or in the process of appeals are forced to close their doors.
There's been a significant backlog at the state level processing these when they go in front of the board. If they're denied it takes several more months to get an administrative law judge to hear the case," said Loker.
Loker said it's a troubling transition with expectations and rules constantly changing for medical facilities.
"They need to just apply the same standard universally every time. When you make it up as you go it leaves problems," said Loker.
He said it's disheartening for his clients who comply and still get denied.
"I really feel sorry the employees who have no stake in the game but their next paycheck and that paycheck isn't coming. This state mandated shutdown is just a lay off for thousands of employees in this industry," Loker said.
Plus it poses a major inconvenience for patients, he said.
"The state has listened a little bit to their side of the story and desiring access. I think it should be pretty evident the majority have wanted it for anyone over 21 now," said Loker.
Loker is hopeful the grass is greener on the other side with new state leaders.
"Certainly would like to see the Attorney General's office settle these cases that have been denied by the licensing board. Put them back in front of the licensing board in some kind of expedited measure so they could get some decisions here."
Loker said it's possible with new legislation and recreational marijuana legal we could see a new direction with the licensing board all together.