marihuana event license

Now that the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has released the Emergency Rules for adult-use marijuana in Michigan, there are plenty of new opportunities to explore if you are considering applying for a marihuana event license.  

In addition to the five (5) license types under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA)—grower, processor, retailer, secure transporter, and safety compliance facility—applicants and hopeful licensees now have additional options to choose from! For example, applicants may apply for a microbusiness license (cultivate up to 150 plants, process, and sell to adults 21+) and/or a designated consumption establishment license (allows adults 21+ to use/consume at a non-commercial location).

Two of the more interesting “special licenses” created by the MRA are the “Marihuana Event Organizer License” and “Temporary Marihuana Event License.” If you are interested in holding a cannabis-related event, read more below for details on how and more information about the application process.

What is a “Marihuana Event Organizer” and a “Temporary Marihuana Event”?

Section 8 of the MRTMA allows the MRA to create “additional types . . . of state licenses to operate marihuana-related businesses.” The “Marihuana Event Organizer” and “Temporary Marihuana Event” are two newly created license types.

A Marihuana Event Organizer License allows an individual or company to apply for a Temporary Marihuana Event License, which is defined as:

A state license held by a marihuana event organizer for an event where the onsite sale or consumption of marihuana products, or both, are authorized at the location indicated on the state license during the dates indicated on the state license.

In other words, once you have obtained a Marihuana Event Organizer License (valid for 1 year), you then are eligible to apply for permission to hold a Temporary Marihuana Event where the use and/or adult-use consumption of cannabis is allowed for a limited amount of time within a pre-approved, designated area. The event allows for licensed retailers and/or microbusinesses to participate and sell their products to adults 21+.

Who is eligible for a Marihuana Event Organizer/Temporary Marihuana Event License?

Unlike many of the establishment licenses available under the MRTMA, there are no specific requirements to become a Marihuana Event Organizer or Temporary Marihuana Event licensee. 

For example, to obtain an adult-use grower (Class B or C), processor or retailer license, an individual or company must first obtain a medical facility license under the MMFLA to apply. Likewise, a microbusiness or adult-use grower (Class A) must reside in Michigan resident. These requirements expire after a couple of years, but they are barriers to entry if you do not satisfy the criteria.

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On the other hand, as long as an individual or company satisfies the basic criteria under the MRTMA, they are then allowed to apply to become a Marihuana Event Organizer and Temporary Marihuana Event licensee. The application eligibility criteria can be found in Emergency Rules 5 to 9, but the major disqualifying factors are as follows:

  • Prior conviction involving distribution of controlled substance to a minor
  • Pattern of convictions involving dishonesty, theft, or fraud
  • Delinquent/unpaid taxes for 1 or more years
  • History of noncompliance with regulatory requirements; criminal/civil history

Where can I apply for a Temporary Marihuana Event License?

A Marihuana Event Organizer License does not require a physical location. This is because the license only makes you eligible for a Temporary Marihuana Event License. However, once you are a Marihuana Event Organizer and wish to apply for a Temporary Marihuana Event, you will need both (1) state and (2) local approval to hold the event.

The municipality where the proposed event will need to have signed off on the event. The state application requires that every Temporary Marihuana Event License applicant provide a:

Written attestation on a form provided by the agency from the municipality authorizing the applicant to engage in onsite marihuana sales to, and onsite consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at the temporary marihuana event at the proposed location.

In other words, before applying to the state for an event, the event organizer must receive the necessary local approvals to obtain the required license. There are very few, if any, municipalities right now that specifically authorize Temporary Marihuana Event Licenses, so it is key to communicate with the municipality and obtain approval prior to applying for a state license.

How do I apply?

The Marihuana Event Organizer License application is straightforward. It requires demographic information for yourself and your company, financial and background disclosures and documents, and an $6K application fee. Once you are licensed as a Marihuana Event Organizer, you can then apply for a Temporary Marihuana Event License, which requires the following additional items:

  • Must submit state application no less than 90 calendar days before the first day
  • Dates/hours of operation – temporary events may last between 1-7 consecutive days
  • Address/location where temporary event will be held – may only be held at venue expressly approved by municipality 
  • Information regarding each marihuana establishment (retailer or microbusiness) that will be participating
  • Diagram of physical layout of temporary event, including
    • Where event will be taking place, entrances/exits to be used by patrons;
    • All areas where product will be consumed and retail areas where product will be sold
    • All areas where waste will be stored and where product will be sold
    • Specific location of each retailer/microbusiness that will be participating (each will be assigned a location number)
  • Info for primary contact person(s) (must be onsite at event and reachable)
  • Fees:
    • No Sales – $500 per day of event
    • Sales – $500 per day of event + $500 per licensed retailer/microbusiness participating
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The Marihuana Event Organizer is also responsible for hiring licensed security for the event, ensuring that access to the event is restricted to adults 21+, and proper waste disposal occurs for any product leftover at the event.

If you are considering becoming a licensed Marihuana Event Organizer and obtaining one or more licenses to hold a Temporary Marihuana Event, it is best to consult an knowledgeable attorney or consultant who can guide you through the process.

Nickolas Galendez (16 Posts)

Nickolas Galendez is an associate attorney with the Cannabis Legal Group. Since joining the State Bar of Michigan in 2015, Nickolas has practiced medical marijuana law under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. For over two years, Nickolas has gained significant experience related to preparing and filing applications for local and state licenses; property, land use, and zoning issues; as well as education and advocacy efforts.

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