DETROIT (WWJ) – Thursday is the deadline for medical marijuana license applicants to submit their paperwork to the state. This is a pre-application that must show the medical marijuana facility will have local approval before it can get a state license.

In November, the state allowed medical pot businesses in compliance with local ordinances to stay open until the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs had reviewed applications and awarded licenses. But few applicants have completed the process given concerns over federal law making pot illegal, along with inconsistent police enforcement that have shut down some dispensaries while allowing others to stay open.

Proposed facilities must stop operating if they do not apply by Feb. 15, if they are denied a license or if they are not issued one by June 15. Violators will face law enforcement.

State officials expect to begin issuing licenses by April.

Michigan currently lets patients obtain marijuana from caregivers who grow plants; but the legal status of dispensary businesses has been in doubt. Roughly 265,000 patients have registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 42,000 registered caregivers who can supply a limited number of people.

Dispensary shops are not explicitly addressed under a 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana law. They have gone unchecked in some municipalities and have been blocked in others under a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that questioned their legality.

A five-tiered licensing system is being developed under a 2016 law that further regulated medical marijuana and aimed to address confusion. The law imposes a new 3 percent tax on provisioning centers and establishes a licensing system to grow, process, sell, transport and test marijuana. The emergency rules will remain in effect until at least June or permanent ones are finalized.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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