Like California, Michigan had its own version of a gray market that authorities have actively worked to shutdown to make room for the official regulated medical marijuana market. Most of Michigan is now embracing the new medical marijuana market, but between a lawsuit and a very particular city clerk, Lansing has made little headway having not approved a single application for a grower or processor but denying 18.
Lansing officials deny that the lawsuit against City Clerk Christopher Swope for improperly rejecting the applications has anything to do with the city’s slow progress. While states may be recognizing the intense demand for medical marijuana, patients cannot see the cannabis market get put in place fast enough.
The city’s application deadline for the first round of dispensary applications was Dec. 15, 2017. The ordinance empowers City Clerk Chris Swope to issue up to 20 dispensary licenses from that first round of applications. Five more dispensary licenses would be issued later on.
A group called Let Lansing Vote sued the city in November 2017, alleging Swope had improperly rejected a petition that challenged the new medical marijuana ordinance. The petition demanded that City Council repeal the ordinance or suspend it until it could be brought before voters on a citywide ballot.
“The lawsuit has not stopped the review process,” Swope wrote in an email. “Given the detailed review to ensure the highest quality applicants are selected, a fair process and a large number of applications, the process is moving at a deliberate pace.”
Of the 85 dispensary applications received by the city, the clerk has denied 18. Per ordinance, those applicants have the option to appeal the denials before the city’s medical marijuana commission.
Sometimes a lawsuit seems to be the only way to get elected officials to do the work they have been elected to execute. How much longer until Lansing gets its act together and provides its residents with the medical marijuana they so plainly need?