Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act

(Last Updated Oct. 2017)

People with certain medical conditions can register to be able to use marijuana for medicinal purposes under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA).   The act was passed by Michigan voters in a statewide ballot initiative in 2008.  The medical conditions covered under the MMMA include debilitating medical condition as outlined by the Michigan health code.  Learn more the MMMA on our Michigan Medical Marijuana Overview page.

There were major problems with the original structure created by the MMMA because there was not an opportunity for dispensaries or caregivers to have any business growth.  In order to better regulate the industry and to allow for commercial growth the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) was passed.  The act puts in place licensing guidelines and regulations for medical marijuana providers.  These include the creation of five different categories of service providers:

  1. Growers: authorized to grow marijuana
  2. Provisioning Centers: dispensaries and retail stores for marijuana and marijuana products.
  3. Processors: able to process marijuana into a variety of products including oils and edibles
  4. Secured Transporters: the only authorized way to transport marijuana and marijuana products between facilities throughout the state.
  5. Safety Compliance Facilities: the facilities will test marijuana and marijuana products for contaminants including things such as pesticides and mold. The facilities will also test for THC content which is one of the cannabinoids derived from the marijuana plant.

Another key component of the MMFLA is the creation of a medical marijuana licensing board.  The purpose of the board is to review and decide on licensing applications and also to provide oversight of marijuana facilities.  The licensing board is part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The board is still determining how the application process and the actual issuance of the licenses will work.  The deadline for decisions to be made regarding the process is December 15, 2017.  According to LARA, dispensaries that are currently open may continue their operations through that date.  Legislators in Lansing are attempting to pass a bill that will allow dispensaries to continue to operate beyond the December deadline.  The idea is for the existing businesses to continue operations while waiting on their new license.  The bill was referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee on September 28.

Over the next few months, the entire application process including fees and assessment requirements will be established.  The application fee amounts have not yet been set.  However, LARA has reported they anticipate the fees for background checks to range from $4,000 to $8,000.  In addition to the fees for the background check, applicants will also have to pay a regulatory assessment fee. The state law does cap the regulatory assessment fees for Grower Class A license level at $10,000, while LARA estimates the regulatory assessment fee for Class B and C Growers, Processors, Transporters and Provisioning Centers to be between $10,000 to $57,000.

Even though the licensing will be established through LARA local municipalities will still be involved in the process.  The city, township or village must pass an ordinance that authorizes the development of the type of facility which a person wants to operate in that municipality.  Once the ordinance is passed, the municipality has the ability to limit the number of marihuana facilities located in its boundaries.  In addition, they have the option to establish their own annual fee up to $5,000 per facility.  There are other zoning and licensing regulations which also may be adopted by a municipality where a facility may be in operation.

In early September, the City of Lansing updated their marijuana ordinance for commercial establishments.  No licenses will be issued by the city until the state regulations are in place.  The cost for a Lansing license will be $5,000 and if the applicant is not granted a license they will receive $2,500 back.  The renewal fee will also be $5,000.

In addition, Lansing’s local ordinance includes some rules specifically for dispensaries regarding zoning.  The locations may not be within 1,000 feet of an operational school.  Moreover, a dispensary may not be located less than 500 feet from another dispensary or provisioning center, a public playground located in a park, a commercial child care facility, a church or a substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation center.

We will continue to keep you up to date on the licensing process and other regulations related to the MMFLA.  Grewal Law will track these important changes to medical marijuana laws at both the local and state levels.  Check back to this page for updates throughout 2017.  If you currently operate a dispensary or if you are considering opening one of the other commercial operations covered under the MMFLA it can be overwhelming to keep up with the proposed changes.

If you have any questions regarding how the law could impact your business call us for a no-obligation quote at 800-331-9871.

Helpful Links: Michigan Medical Marijuana Latest News and Update