Back in March, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, which essentially made the state the 10th to legalize the drug for recreational use. More recently, Michigan has started accepting applications for licenses to businesses that want to venture into the marijuana industry. As of November 1, 2019, people can apply at the MRA and start operating as soon as next year.
Individuals hoping to acquire a license can go to the agency and apply, along with $6,000 for the application fee. On November 1, the first day of accepting applications, the agency received around 34 applications for pre-qualifying status. Of those applications, 18 of them were applications for the second part of the application process. Once approved by the state on both applications, a license will be issued.
“Many want to see either what the permanent regulations look like and others want to see what it looks like in other communities of a similar size and scale to see how it all unfolds,” said Andrew Brisbo, director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency.
Don’t expect them to be giving them out quickly, though. Michigan requires several inspections before approving any licenses, including fire and building inspections. The state must also verify if the business is also operating in a city that allows the distribution of marijuana. On average, the second part of the application takes about 3-4 weeks, according to MRA spokesperson David Harns.
This license will allow a business to grow and sell up to 150 plants in one location. If the owner resides in one of 41 communities identified as an area that has been hit by the war on drugs, then you qualify for a 25 percent discount off of the license fee. All applicants who already have a medical marijuana card will have their applications expedited. There are some key differences between having a medical license and a recreational license.
There are different categories, depending on what kind of business you are trying to start. Michigan will allow people to apply to be either a marijuana-themed event planner or to open a social club, where only smoking marijuana is permitted. Cannabis Cup competitions have gained popularity in Michigan, despite being unsanctioned by the state. On the other hand, marijuana social clubs will allow people to socialize with marijuana instead of alcohol. There will be no food, drinks or alcohol sold at these clubs.
Another difference is that dispensaries are required to be able to deliver the product but only to medical marijuana cardholders. License renewal fees will be based on the size of the business, with larger businesses receiving larger fees. Finally, free samples will be available from growers, which the customer can try at home to ensure quality.
This comes exactly one year after Michigan voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use by 56 percent. This legislation also allows people to grow their own marijuana plants, maxing out at 12 per household. Residents can expect to see dispensaries pop up in their neighborhoods as soon as January. Just like every other state to do this, Michigan can also expect to see a large boost in revenue once these dispensaries start to appear.