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Portage – The Portage City Council has extended its moratorium on new medical marijuana facilities for at least a year.

That’s how long it may take the state of Michigan to set up their new production and distribution system, and for local municipalities to decide whether or not they want to allow any of the five different businesses the state will be licensing to operate in their communities.

The six-month moratorium they had in place was just about to expire. They had hope that this would all be sorted out by now.

The new state system may be structured like a more modern distribution chain, but will include few of the efficiencies. They will separately license different firms to grow the dope, process the grass, test the pot, transport the cannabis and dispense the marijuana.

They all have to be owned by separate firms, effectively adding in a multitude of middle men.

It will all be closely monitored from seed to sale, taxed and regulated to limit diversion of product into recreational use. All of it will take time, lots of rules and structure.

That’s not great news for medical marijuana patients who will have to continue to depend on a patchwork system of caregivers or grow their own. It’s a system that forces some to buy from illegal dealers or travel great distances to towns that currently tolerate the operation of dispensaries.

In Portage it is regulated as a home business, which means there are homes all over Portage that have pot as their cottage industry.

Patients complain there aren’t enough caregivers to go around and it can be difficult to find the particular strain of marijuana that best addresses their specific ailment. Once they find a caregiver, it can take a while before they can get the drug because it has to be grown first.

City Attorney Randall Brown says LARA, the state regulatory agency will have to come up with standards and rules for all five licenses, because none of them will be able or allowed to operate until they all can.

The State has already said it won’t be issuing any licenses until late in 2017. Until the rules are promulgated, there isn’t much the local municipalities can do but wait to formulate their own ordinances, which will further delay access for patients who may not have that kind of time left.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Portage Extends Marijuana Moratorium
Author: John McNeill
Contact: 616-392-3121
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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