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Medical marijuana shops to reopen following Whitmer's recommendation

The state forced dozens of unlicensed provisioning centers to shut its doors last week.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dozens of medical marijuana provisioning centers across Michigan will be reopening, just weeks after the state forced them to shut down.

At the recommendation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the state's medical marijuana licensing board will allow facilities waiting for their license, to resume operations until March 31.

The board, which meets once a month, has approved a little more than 50 provisioning centers in the state. 

"It's just, it's really difficult for patients in Michigan, right now," marijuana industry professional Jamie Cooper said.

With fewer businesses, there were fewer products on the shelves leaving many without their medicine.

Whitmer recommended the state allow facilities to reopen as they continue to pursue a license until March 31. 

"I have a feeling that that will be extended unless something else is done to change the licensing process that is currently in place," Cooper said.

Many feel similar to Cooper, who believes the state is not moving fast enough.

"At the board meeting this [Wednesday] morning, there were 25 pre-qualifications on the agenda and there were only seven fully qualified applicants on the agenda and not all seven of them were approved," Cooper said.

Cooper is grateful the governor understands and acknowledges the hardship patients are dealing with, however, she said much more needs to be done. 

"Seven once a month, it's not cutting it," Cooper said. "The licensing process that we have right now that is being done once a month by this appointed board is not working."

The board is made up of volunteers appointed by former Gov. Rick Snyder.

"They're unpaid positions so there's obviously no motivation behind it to keep it moving at a faster pace," Cooper said.

She said the state has collected more than $5 million in application fees.

"That's a lot of money for our state to have their hands on, right now," she said. "Why can't we use some of that money that they've taken in to change this?"

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