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 10th 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 on medical regulations.
- Find more information about recreational regulations.
- Learn more about the emergency regulations added 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.
- 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.
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