Recreational weed may spark up Michigan’s medical marijuana industry |

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General Manager Jason Mischen displays marijuana flower at Compassionate Care by Design marijuana provisional center, Kalamazoo, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (Daniel Vasta |


One in four applications for a license to run a medical marijuana facility made it to the state licensing board in 2018 as state officials conducted extensive vetting and fielded inquiries from 900 prospective businesses.

Last year the industry welcomed new regulations and legal clarity from a 2016 law — the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) — and the state saw the first retail sale of medical marijuana in October.

The 2018 launch of the commercialized medical marijuana industry ended with a marijuana shortage and the closure of at least 72 dispensaries. Starting 2019, patients are having trouble finding their medicine.

“It cannot be described as anything but a failure,” said Michael Komorn, president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, of the state’s progress in 2018.

Industry insiders are holding out hope that Michigan’s medical marijuana program will be reformed in 2019 as Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration takes power, and as the recreational marijuana program launches.

“Governor Whitmer has been a supporter of medical and recreational marijuana for years. The administration is exploring any and all options to ensure patients are protected and have access to medical marijuana,” said Tiffany Brown, Whitmer’s spokeswoman.

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