Michigan Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS MICHIGAN'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Michigan has both an adult-use and a medical cannabis program, and a hemp program in place to be approved by the USDA. The state is moving toward passing legislation that would expand access to expunging the records of nearly 235,000 residents with minor marijuana convictions. In December 2019, Michigan cannabis businesses launched operations with sales of nearly USD 1.6 million in the first week, in spite of reports of low inventories.
WHAT ARE MICHIGAN'S CANNABIS LAWS?
Michigan voters approved Proposition 1 in 2018 to end cannabis prohibition and effectively legalize adult-use cannabis. Michigan’s House of Representatives passed a series of bills in November 2019 that allowed for increased cannabis criminal history expungement, including over 200,000 cases of misdemeanor cannabis convictions. Michigan’s Senate has yet to approve the legislation; however, based on prior support of Michigan cannabis legislation, it is expected Governor Gretchen Whitmer will sign the bills into law.
Governor Whitmer established the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to oversee and implement the Michigan cannabis license process and regulation of cannabis businesses. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency released adult-use regulations for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary business licenses.
The legislation allows for more progressive provisions including on-site cannabis consumption licenses and temporary events. In addition to these unique provisions, Michigan continues to support communities that have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition through business education and licensing support. Stay informed about the latest changes in Michigan Cannabis Law by subscribing to our weekly newsletter!
WHAT IS MICHIGAN'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Group 1: New Applicants
This set of steps is for those applicants who do not hold an active state operating license under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. The steps to receiving an adult-use (recreational) establishment license for new applicants are as follows:
Group 2: Existing Medical Marijuana Facility Licensees
This set of steps is for those applicants who hold an active state operating license under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. The steps to receiving an adult-use (recreational) establishment license for existing medical marijuana facility licensees are as follows:
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN MICHIGAN?
In November 2008, Michigan voters approved Proposal 1, also known as the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. This groundbreaking measure allows qualifying medical cannabis patients with a physician's recommendation to possess up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis. Patients can receive a physician’s recommendation for treatment of a limited list of qualifying medical conditions. The measure allows patients/caregivers to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home, but does not explicitly allow for dispensaries to operate. The passage of Prop 1 made Michigan the 13th state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, and is the first Midwestern state to do so.
In September 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills that, among other reforms, allowed the operation and regulation of medical cannabis dispensaries and set a taxation rate of 3% on medical cannabis sales. This package of bills also explicitly approved the use of non-smokable forms of cannabis such as topicals and edibles.
In November 2017, activists pushing for adult-use cannabis legalization submitted 365,000 signatures to put a measure on the 2018 ballot. In June 2018, state lawmakers declined the option to pass the measure themselves, sending it to the November ballot. In November 2018, Michigan voters approved Proposal 1 making Michigan the tenth state and the first in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
DOES MICHIGAN HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
In January 2019, the Michigan Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act, also known as Public Act 641, established a licensing program for persons engaged in the growing, processing and handling of industrial hemp. Under this act, anyone who grows industrial hemp or processes, handles, brokers, or markets industrial hemp in Michigan, must obtain a registration or license from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MRARD). Persons who obtain the appropriate registration or license will be able to grow, process, handle, broker, or market industrial hemp in conformance with Michigan law. In order to be in conformance with both state and federal law, participation in an Ag Pilot Program is required.
Once you have obtained appropriate licensure under PA 641, you may apply to MDARD to participate in Michigan's 2020 Industrial Hemp Ag Pilot Program. Upon approval, Ag-Pilot Program participants are required to enter into a research agreement with MDARD. Licenses and research agreements expire annually on November 30 and participants must reapply annually. Persons who obtain both the required registration and/or license under Michigan's Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act and comply with the terms of a research agreement will be considered by MDARD to be conducting research on behalf of the Department as permitted under the 2014 Farm Bill.
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE MICHIGAN CANNABIS MARKET?
Michigan is accepting state applications on a rolling basis for new and existing cannabis facilities, dependent on local authorization. It is never too early to start developing your cannabis business plan, or to secure an operating license with our templated docs. Point7 is pleased to offer products and service packages to operators at all stages of the cannabis business life cycle—whether you are just getting started, or are a seasoned operator thinking about expansion.