Medical marijuana patients scrambling after dispensaries ordered - WNEM TV 5

Medical marijuana patients scrambling after dispensaries ordered to close

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BURTON, MI (WNEM) -

In an effort to increase oversight and impose new taxes on the industry, the state is telling medical marijuana businesses to close up shop or risk not obtaining a new license at all.

The decision has many patients who use medical marijuana asking what to do now.

"Just like any other pharmacy, I need my medicine. I'll go to certain pharmacies to get my medicine and if I can't get it then, what am I going to do? Be stuck in pain?" said Jeffrey Wilson, a medical marijuana patient.

Wilson is concerned to say the least. He's a medical marijuana patient who suffers from Stage 4 spinal cancer.

Now that Michigan is giving medical marijuana dispensaries until Dec. 15th to shut their doors, Wilson is worried it will be harder to get what he needs.

"Usually at night time that's when the pain really sets in. When it gets colder at night I can basically feel it in my bones. I'll take it and I feel better,” Wilson said.

Due to a new state regulatory system, if the business doesn't close by the set date it could put owners in jeopardy of obtaining a new license.

The Department of Licensing and Regulation said the dispensaries are currently operating in a legal grey area, but the state hopes to issue all new licenses by next year.

Briana Fidelino is a manager at a local certification clinic. She said hundreds of her patients rely on the drug. She's hoping this doesn't make it more difficult for them.

"There are patients that we see that have very severe conditions and cancer and epilepsy. We have minors and children come in. That this is what they look forward to. This is what gets them through the day,” Fidelino.

The folks at Green Light Wellness in Burton said this isn't going to affect caregivers or patients.

"People shouldn't worry. I don't think this is going to go very far. People will still be able to use the medicine legally. They can have their cards and get their medicine,” Fidelino said.

Wilson said he wishes the dispensaries would stay open. In the meantime, he will make sure to connect with a caregiver just in case.

"It's a safety net knowing that I can take this and in a few minutes, I’ll be feeling better if not great,” Wilson said.

Right now, roughly 218,000 patients are registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 38,000 designated caregivers who can supply a limited number of people. 

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