Reports from Flint this week have been confusing and concerning for many in the Michigan Medical Marijuana (MMMJ) community. Flint officials have been reviewing the paperwork and police have been visiting the Medical Marijuana dispensaries to find out whether they have the proper city issued licences needed to do business. Some of these same provisioning centers have been operating for years already without any guidelines or concern from the city, yet those same shops are now being shut down. No arrests have been made; however, violators could be charged with a felony should the city choose to pursue it.
Each store operator needs to obtain all of the required permits from the office of Building and Safety Inspection Division, which Police Chief James Tolbert says they have had plenty of time to do. “If we just basically say we don’t care, we don’t care there’s a law or anything like that, and we’re just going to open up and allow that, what’s to stop everybody and anybody from coming in and doing this exact same thing. We have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. This is just simply a way that we’re telling individuals, ‘Hey, there’s a way you can go about doing this. You need to do it the correct way and we’re going to make sure you do,” Tolbert said.
In an interview with mlive yesterday, Ben Horner (owner of MI Organic Solutions in Flint) suggested to fellow dispensary owners that “There’s no reason to panic.” “If you haven’t been approved, don’t operate.” “I really don’t look at this as a bad situation, I just think it’s a part of the process.” he said.
However, it appears from a photo obtained by Hybrid.life this morning, that MI Organic Solutions has recieved the notice to stop doing business along with most of the MMJ storefronts in the city of Flint. Chief Talbot said police were checking on as many as 26 dispensaries that may have been operating. Steve Green, of the Green Report, says he has found at least one dispensery currently open in Flint: The Green Bean at 1625 W Atherton Rd., Flint, MI. 810-232-4400
According to Hybrid.Life sources, this isn’t the whole story. Many of the dispensary owners already paid over $5000 to apply for their business licence, gave the names of all employees for required background checks, yet were still waiting over a month and a half later to be approved. During the visits, police are asking if business licences have been paid for, yet dispensary owners are left in limbo because the city is dragging their heels on employee background checks and won’t even accept the licence fee until background checks are completed. A few temporary licences were issued, yet those are expiring.
The lifting of the three-year moratorium on the MMJ businesses in Flint saw a surge of dispensaries opening within a short period of time. Flint City Council members have said they are worried by the new provisioning centers opening under the new ordinance. “The medical marijuana people are going to take over the hospital,” said 2nd Ward Councilwoman Jackie Poplar. “They’ll lay at home feeling good and they’ll still be dying.”
So, yet again, it is the patients that are really caught in this limbo; wondering if their needed medicine is available or their store is closed. Medical Marijuana is not just about “feeling good”. It has been scientifically proven many times to actually treat a number of debilitating illnesses. Is the MMMJ program about money or compassion? Paperwork or principles? Are our elected officials helping or hurting a large portion of the population by their actions?