Why was the Designated Marijuana Consumption Establishment License Created?
As often reported by legalization opponents, marijuana arrests often increase in states with legalized cannabis. Typically, this spike in arrests is due to an increase in possession of marijuana charges as cannabis consumers can rarely consume cannabis legally anywhere but on private property. Recognizing this issue, the MRA created a regulatory structure for cannabis consumption, creating a new license called a Designated Marijuana Consumption Establishment.
A Designated Consumption Establishment is a commercial space, licensed by the MRA, that authorizes adults to consume marijuana products on location (known as cannabis cafes, cannabis lounges, etc).
Unlike other MRTMA licenses, a Designated Marijuana Consumption Establishment license is available to any applicant willing to pursue the project.
While the license itself doesn’t authorize the owner to sell cannabis products, the license can be held by marijuana retailers, microbusinesses, or anyone wanting to operate a “bring-your-own-cannabis” model.
Entrepreneurs hoping to enter the cannabis market, but aren’t interested in growing, processing, or operating a traditional dispensary can use the Designated Consumption Establishment license for new business models not often seen in other cannabis markets.
How do I choose a location for my cannabis consumption establishment?
First, like all cannabis licenses in Michigan, you need the support and approval of your local municipality.
Next, you need to find a facility that contains all of the following elements:
Your facility needs a specified area specifically suitable for marijuana consumption. As you’ll see below, your facility will also need smoke free areas. To start, you need to identify an area within your facility in which you intend your patrons to actually consume cannabis. Note: the rules are flexible to allow only the consumption of non-smokable forms of cannabis. You could design a facility that only allows edibles or vaping consumption without providing a space specifically for smoking cannabis.
Your facility will need a smoke-free area for employees to monitor your marijuana consumption area. As the facility operator, you’ll have a duty to ensure your employees aren’t subjected to indirect or unintended cannabis consumption while working at your facility.
Your facility must have a ventilation system that directs air from the marijuana consumption area to the outside of the building, through a filtration system designed to remove visual smoke and odor. Further, your facility must have sufficient walls and barriers to ensure smoke does not infiltrate into nonsmoking areas or adjacent uses.
How can I apply for a Designated Consumption Establishment license?
To apply for a Designated Consumption Establishment license, an applicant needs to undergo the same preliminary background check as other MRTMA license applicants.
For the facility portion of the application, Designated Consumption Establishment applicants will need to submit the following items:
1. Designated Consumption Establishment Plan
This plan contains a diagram of the facility, explaining the layout, defining locations within the facility, and indicating distinct areas or structures that might separate the Designated Consumption Establishment from other MRTMA licenses the applicant may be operating at adjacent locations. This plan will be used by MRA to understand the floor plan and layout of the facility.
2. Building, Construction, and Zoning Details
MRA will need to review the structural information for the facility. This will help MRA to verify a safe operation, allow for building and fire safety review, and generally ensure the applicant will not create a detrimental impact on adjacent, non-cannabis uses.
3. A Business Plan
MRA will want to know the applicant’s indented goals for facility operations, including, but not limited to proposed hours of operation and the intended mechanisms for consumers to acquire cannabis at the facility. Will your facility operate as a co-located facility with a microbusiness, or do you intend for your customers to bring their own cannabis into the facility?
4. Responsible Operations Plan
This plan is a detailed summary of how the applicant will monitor consumption at the facility, prevent over-intoxication, underage access, and the illegal sale or distribution of cannabis within the establishment. Applicants will also need to create an employee training program to ensure this responsible operations plan is implemented at the facility.