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Michigan Opened Access to Adult-Use Cannabis Market in March 2021

In October 2020, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), a division of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which oversees the licensure of medical and recreational marijuana businesses in Michigan, released an Advisory Bulletin outlining major licensure changes that took effect early in 2021.

Shopping cart with marijuana buds load. Cannabis business concept stock photo

The MRA is now accepting applications for all license types authorized under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) from any applicant. 

Questions about getting into the adult-use marijuana market in Michigan? Need corporate counsel? Request a consultation now.

Why Were Only Certain People Allowed to Apply Before?

The MRA began accepting applications for licensure under the MRTMA in November 2019, but pursuant to Section 9(6) of the MRTMA, only from:

  • Michigan residents for a Class A Marihuana Grower or Microbusiness license, and
  • from current license holders under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) applying for Retailers, Processors, Secure Transporters, and Class B or C Growers under the MRTMA.

These restrictions were put in place to give a competitive advantage to business operators who had devoted the time and resources to developing Michigan’s medical marijuana industry and supply chain.

Per the MRTMA, the restrictions were to remain in place for 24 months after the MRA begins accepting applications under the MRTMA, unless the MRA determined after 12 months that additional state licenses were necessary to minimize the illegal market for marihuana in Michigan.

Minimizing the Illegal Market for Marijuana in Michigan

Based on law enforcement reporting, the MRA determined that the impact of the illicit market remains a primary concern that needs to be addressed, as the illicit market stands ready to fill the void created when the regulated market isn’t able to meet consumer demand. 

According to data provided by the Michigan State Police – Marijuana Tobacco Investigation Section;

83% of the seizures of illicit marijuana plants and products occur in municipalities that do not have regulated marijuana establishments. In the past year, the city of Detroit has seen a 36% increase in narcotics-related homicides and a 214% increase in specifically marijuana-related non-fatal shootings.

The MRA bulletin states the current eligibility restrictions create a barrier to approaching local authorization in an equitable manner, thus reducing municipal participation.

Removing these barriers will hopefully encourage greater municipal participation, allowing the regulated market to meet consumer demand and minimizing the impacts of the illicit market. 

The Takeaway

If you would like more information about how you may obtain a license to operate a marihuana business in Michigan, whether it’s a medical facility under the MMFLA, or a recreational adult-use establishment under the MRTMA; the knowledgeable and experienced team at the Cannabis Legal Group is ready to assist with any issues or questions you may encounter in the process.

Questions about getting into the adult-use marijuana market in Michigan? Need corporate counsel? Request a consultation now.

Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
The Cannabis Legal Group has been providing our clients professional and quality legal assistance in all aspects of representation for years.

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