Some medicinal cannabis retailers in Michigan that are operating within compliance received cease and desist letters.
However, this was not an administrative error by state authorities. In fact, the letters are fake.
All dispensaries in Michigan are operating under temporary emergency rules. The timing of the letters could have been trying to capitalize on an already confusing legal situation for cannabis dispensaries in Michigan. Shops are currently waiting to be approved by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the letters may have been intended to fool operators.
Authorities recently sent out legitimate cease and desist letters to 213 businesses that had not yet applied for permanent licenses. The fake letters looked very similar to the actual letters issued by the department and warned that shops could be shut down if they continued to operate.
The department stopped issuing these letters on April 18. The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and the Michigan State Police are investigating the fraudulent letters. Authorities are encouraging businesses that received the phony letters to call 517-284-8599.
“BMMR Enforcement Officers carry a form of identification that makes it clear that they work for the bureau,” the department said in a statement. They also suggested that business owners ask to see identification if they’re served with a cease and desist order.
Moving forward, state officials will deliver the cease and desist letters by mail and no longer in person or by taping them to the doors of dispensaries.
The medical cannabis program is Michigan has been rocky since its inception. It was initially approved by the House in 2008 through the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative but was not fully implemented. Prop 1 was approved by voters later year. Last year, lawmakers planned to require all dispensaries to shut down while officials went through the licensing process. Many dispensary operators and cannabis advocates pushed back as safe access to relief could have become a major struggle for patients. The plan was dropped but added to an already confusing legal situation in Michigan.