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grow medical cannabis in michigan

Here are six licenses to consider for entering Michigan’s recreational pot market

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Marlisa Meah is the owner of Evergreen Wellness medical marijuana dispensary in Detroit. She was at a Marijuana Regulatory Agency education forum in Detroit, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo: Marlisa Meah)

Marlisa Meah, owner of the Evergreen Wellness medical marijuana dispensary in Detroit, has a lot on her plate these days.

She’s one of the first marijuana business owners in Detroit and has nearly a year of business in the new industry under her belt. So she has to ensure that renewing her medical license goes smoothly and prepare for the emerging recreational market that is right around the corner.

She was one of about 100 people attending a Marijuana Regulatory Agency meeting in Detroit on Thursday to learn how to apply for one of the recreational marijuana licenses that will open the market later this year to anyone 21 and older, beyond the nearly 300,000 people who have medical marijuana cards.

“I want to do recreational and probably also in the grow part because those two go hand in hand,” the Detroit resident said.

Meah will have a leg up because medical marijuana business license holders will have the first crack at licenses for most of the license categories in the recreational market for at least one year. Through mid-August, 296 medical marijuana licenses have been awarded by the state: 121 growers; 15 processors; 144 dispensaries; 10 secure transporters and 6 testing facilities.

“For people like myself, who already have a state license, it will be an easier process for recreational,” she said. “But it took us almost a year to get that medical marijuana license.”

The state will begin taking applications for the recreational marijuana licenses on Nov. 1 and those who already have a medical license will get fast-tracked because they’ve already gone through background checks and have an up-and-running business.

If the cities where they’re operating have given the green light for recreational licenses, they could be up and running by the end of November.

The cost of a license will go down for both medical and recreational marijuana businesses. When the state set the cost of recreational licenses, which range from $1,000 to $40,000, they lowered the medical marijuana license fees to match. The $6,000 application fee will still apply to all license categories in both the medical and recreational sides

There are six new categories of licenses for the recreational market that won’t require a potential business owner to already have a medical marijuana license:

  • Class A grower: While there is already a Class A grower category in the medical market, this recreational license is slightly different. It will allow the small grower — one growing up to 100 plants — to get into the market for a $4,000 license fee, allowing the caregivers who have been supplying medical marijuana to patients to enter the market more easily. This marijuana — seeds, small and large mature plants — can be sold to retail pot shops and processors processers, but owners can apply for only one grow license.
  • Marijuana microbusiness: This license will allow the owner to grow up to 150 plants, process the marijuana and sell it to individuals 21 and older. The owner must be a Michigan resident and can’t hold an interest in any other marijuana business. The licensing fee is $8,000.
  • Designated consumption establishment: This license will allow people to open social clubs where people can use marijuana in any form. Generally, these clubs can’t serve food or alcohol or allow anyone under 21 into the business. The licensing fee is $1,000.
  • Marijuana event organizer: This license will allow a person to put on temporary marijuana events, such as the periodic Cannabis Cup competitions, where different forms of marijuana compete for prizes, or cannabis conferences. The license fee is $1,000.
  • Temporary marijuana event: These license holders also must have an event organizer license and they can put on events where the sale and consumption of marijuana products is allowed for one day or up to one week. The cost of a license is $500 for each day of the event. And if marijuana is sold at the event, an additional $500 per-day fee for the event organizer as well as a $500 fee for each person authorized to sell marijuana products at the event will apply.
  • Marijuana testing facility: While there is already a category for testing for medical marijuana, new applicants won’t need a medical license to be approved to test recreational marijuana. The license fee is $25,000.

The existing categories for medical marijuana licenses remain mostly the same for the recreational market: two classes of growers, processors, testing facilities, retail stores and secure transporters. A new category — excess marijuana grower — has been added to accommodate people who want to stack the large grow licenses in order to become a mega-grower of both medical and recreational marijuana.

The fees for those categories are: $8,000 for a Class B grower of up to 500 plants; $40,000 each for a Class C grower of up to 2,000 plants and an excess marijuana grower of up to 2,000 plants per license for an owner who wants to become a mega grower of both medical and recreational pot; $40,000 for a processor, and $25,000 each for a secure transport and retail shop license.

The recreational market became possible when voters approved a ballot proposal in November to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use for anyone 21 or older. The ballot proposal also allows people to grow up to 12 plants in their home for personal use.

The licenses for Michigan's recreational pot market include being an event organizer and owning a social club where people can use pot in any form

Michigan Cultivation License and Marijuana Laws

Home » Compliance » Michigan Cultivation License and Marijuana Laws

The legality of marijuana in Michigan has undergone frequent changes over the past 11 years.

From medical caregivers in 2008 to the first recreational dispensaries opening their doors in 2019, cannabis has come a long way in Michigan, making it the 10 th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis.

Nonetheless, it is more difficult than ever to secure a Michigan cultivation license.

Below, we’ve provided high-level overviews of the Michigan cultivation license and marijuana laws.

Table of Contents

Michigan Marijuana Laws for Growers

A Michigan commercial marijuana growing license allows individuals to sell marijuana seeds or plants only through a secure transporter. In addition, it allows them to sell marijuana to a provisioning center or a processor.

Eligibility and regulations for a Michigan cultivation license include many moving parts, such as no safety compliance facility or a secure transporter. This means that an individual cannot also have these types of Michigan cultivation licenses if they have a grower’s license.

Caregiver Requirement

Michigan grower licensees must have an active employee who has two years’ experience at the minimum as a registered primary caregiver. The licensee cannot be a registered primary caregiver.

Marihuana vs. Marijuana

In the early 1900s, Michigan adopted its statutory definition of marihuana in the Public Health Code, utilizing the then-current federal spelling, marihuana.

Although updating something as simple as a single letter in spelling may seem like an easy task, extensive legislation would be required to change the spelling in Michigan for legal communication and statutes. Informal, non-legal documents will use modern marijuana spelling.

Types of Michigan Grow Licenses

There are two types of commercial grow licenses in Michigan, each with three classes depending on the number of cannabis plants you intend to cultivate.

  • Medical grower classes: A (500 plants), B (1000 plants), and C (1500 plants)
  • Recreation grower classes: A (100 plants), B (500 plants), and C (2000 plants)

The adult-use program also permits a microbusiness license. Equivalent licenses with common ownership will be allowed to operate at the same location, without separation, if the operation is not in violation of any local ordinances, regulations, or limits. Separate entrances, exits, point of sale areas, and operations will not be required.

Michigan Commercial Grow License Cost

The initial costs of a license at the state level include the application fee and the regulatory assessment. Additional costs at the state level are authorized under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) and may be required. An applicant may also need to pay a fee to its municipality of up to $5000.

State License Application Fee

The application fee is non-refundable and offsets the cost for LARA, the Michigan State Police (MSP), and/or contract costs for investigative services for conducting the background investigation of those applying for licenses.

The nonrefundable application fee is $6000.

State Annual Regulatory Assessment

The regulatory assessment is due prior to the issuance of each license and may vary depending on the number of licenses anticipated to be issued. The regulatory assessment does not apply to safety compliance facilities.

Grower A licenses are capped, by statute, at $10,000. Grower B and Grower C licenses will be dependent on the number of total licenses subject to assessment and could be as low as $10,000 or as high as $66,000. The exact amounts of the regulatory assessments are not available currently.

Michigan Commercial Grow License Application Requirements

Applying for a commercial grow license in Michigan is a long and tedious process.

To ensure you are filling everything out correctly and going above and beyond the requirements, we strongly suggest hiring a knowledgeable consultant and/or attorney. This will have the appropriate experience in the cannabis industry and can help you throughout the entire process.

There are two steps to the application; pre-qualification and license qualification.

Pre-Qualification Stage

In the pre-qualification stage, a thorough background check will be carried out. A background check is conducted on the main applicant and supplemental applicants, such as individuals with an ownership interest in the applicant.

This stage also looks at the financial fitness of the applicants to determine if they meet the minimum financial requirements for the grow license they are seeking. Additionally, to ensure that the financial backgrounds of the applicants are in order and do not have unexplainable sources of funds or transactions.

License Qualification Stage

The license qualification stage of the application process requires the applicant to outline what type of license they are applying for. Additionally, the applicant must submit where their facility will be located, and how they plan to run their business.

As part of this step, cultivators must submit an extremely detailed cannabis cultivation business plan. The plan includes extensive outlines for security, facilities, staffing, technology, recordkeeping, and waste disposal at minimum to be complete.

Marijuana Compliance in Michigan

Legal Authority

The legal authority for marijuana is the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The State of Michigan does not restrict the number of licenses, but cities and towns can regulate, ban, or limit the number of marijuana businesses in their community.

Read more about Michigan marijuana regulations.
  • Read the rules onmedical regulations.
  • Find more information aboutrecreational regulations.
  • Learn more about theemergency regulationsadded July 2019.

State Tracking System

Michigan has contracted Metrc as the mandatory regulatory tracking system. Metrc is a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system that uses serialized tags attached to every plant—and labels attached to wholesale packages—to track marijuana inventory. Tags are attached to a plant to facilitate tracking through different stages of growth. Additionally, the tag tracks the drying and curing processes, and eventual retail sale.

Third-Party Integration

365 Cannabis is a validated third-party vendor for Metrc in Michigan. 365 Cannabis offers inventory control and tracking that is capable of interfacing with Metrc to track:

  • All cannabis plants, products, packages, purchase totals, waste, transfers, conversions, sales, and returns
  • Lot and batch information throughout the entire chain of custody
  • Complete batch recall that clearly identifies all required criteria pertaining to the specific batch subject to the recall

We encourage you to always check the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website for the most up-to-date information.

Schedule a demo to see 365 Cannabis’ Metrc integration in action.

Keep up with the ever-changing legalities of marijuana in Michigan! Learn about Michigan cultivation license and marijuana laws from 365 Cannabis.