On September 21, 2016 a historic day for the medical marijuana system in Michigan was created. Governor Rick Snyder signed into law “landmark” legislation that will create a highly regulated industry for the commercial cultivation and sale for medical cannabis. The State of Michigan’s new Medical Marijuana Licensing Board will have until December 15, 2017 to begin creating and accepting applications for one of five different licenses:
- A grower (classes A, B, C)
- A processor (marijuana infused products)
- A secure transporter
- A provisioning center (dispensary)
- A safety compliance facility
1. Obtain a license from the city in which you want to operate
Before the state will even consider granting an application you must have a license from the City. This makes identifying and securing a location as soon as possible incredibly important right now. Every city will decide how many medical marijuana facilities they will allow, if any, and where they will be located. Most cities are now working on a proposed ordinance if they do not have one already. It may require some work to discover what a city is going to do. Once they do decide, it may be to late to begin the work on securing a location. They may all be gone. The cost of a municipal license cannot be more than $5,000.00
2. Be prepared to show that you know what you are doing
An applicant will have to show the state that they know how to run the marijuana business they are applying for. Just a desire to do so will not be enough. It may be necessary to hire a consultant or employee with industry experience. Think about employing someone from an established cannabis marketplace in another state. A successful applicant will also have to provide a legitimate business plan and show they have the financial ability to implement it and sustain for at least two years. Prior successful business experience, even if not cannabis related, is important and will be considered.
3. Start or continue a successful and compliant cannabis related business now
One of the best things you can do to obtain a license is to demonstate that you can successfully run a medical marijuana business currently with expected regulatory standards. If you are a caregiver, operate your grow in a commercial fashion. You should be operating in an indistrual building and not your basement. Implement known regulatory compliant procedures including waste management, security, intergrated pest management, chemical testing protocols, and proper record keeping. Nothing will ensure a successful application than 12 months of compliance documents accompanied by a written operations manual. These things will be required once licensed so you better get used to it now. If you want to obtain a dispensary (provisioning center) medical marijuana license, make sure your current business is not operating unlawfully. Establish written procedures and regulations, follow them and document everything. The state is not going to approve a license to a dispensary owner who has been committing felonies for the last few years, even if the city in which they operate did not care.
4. Start a great business relationship and reputation with your municipality
If your city officials love you they can put in a good word with the state medical marijuana licensing authority. If you can get them to do to that it will mean a great deal to your success. Make frequent contact with them. Offer, even demand, compliance inspections on a regular basis.
5. Make sure that any applicant has good moral character and successful business reputation
Donald Trump would have difficulty obtaining a medical marijuana license because he has been named as a defendant in numerous business related lawsuits. He (and/or his businesses) have also previously filed for bankruptcy. Lawsuits and bankruptcies are negatives for a medical marijuana license in Michigan. An applicant must demonstrate as much as possible that they will be successful. Successful business experience, moral character, financial ability and liquidity will all be very important considerations.