Medical marijuana dispensaries need to close their doors or risk being denied a license – once the state starts issuing them.
On Tuesday the state’s licensing department gave the dispensaries a December 15th deadline. December 15th is also when the state board will start accepting applications for licenses.
Andrew Brisbo is with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. He said three months should be long enough for patients to find alternatives.
“We wanted to make sure we were considering the patient access and the ability of patients to get their medicine and give them time to determine alternative means if they’re currently using a dispensary and establish caregiver relationships,” he said.
But patients and medical marijuana dispensary owners disagree.
Rebecca DeJaegher is a caregiver and patient. She said if dispensaries close, even patients who get their marijuana from caregivers instead of shops might be denied medication.
“We don’t always have what we need to give to our patients. I know I don’t. 72 plants is not enough to care for six patients plus myself,” she said.
Brisbo said requiring currently-open shops to close while they await licenses is only fair.
“Set a level playing field at the initiation of this program to implement so that we are evaluating all applicants against the same criteria,” he said.
The state is not expected to start licensing dispensaries until sometime in the first quarter of 2018.