Over the past few months, the state of Michigan has been rolling out some of the most comprehensive state licensing requirements for cannabis companies. Though cannabis isn’t fully legalized in Michigan, the stringent policies the state has enacted on medical licensees suggest the state is on the way to full legalization.
Michigan is ranked second in the country for states with medical cannabis programs, and beginning December 2017, a new regulatory framework was enacted to create a licensing framework for the growing number of medical marijuana businesses. LARA is Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the group in charge of issuing licenses (much like the CDTFA in California). LARA is in charge of reviewing applications, issuing licenses, and providing oversight to groups with active licenses.
Cannabis Licenses in Michigan
At this time, there are five different types of medical cannabis licenses a business can obtain in Michigan:
What are the application requirements?
Michigan has one of the most involved application processes yet. Of course, the application requirements will vary based on what class license or type of license you’re seeking: Class A licenses are less involved than Class C licenses, for example. However, Michigan officials warn that the application process is going to be very intrusive.
Michigan will likely ask applicants to meet a capital requirement, that is, to show they have adequate financial resources to cover their expenses. According to one news source, “applicants must show that at least 25% of the assets used to meet these capital requirements are liquid and can be easily converted into cash.” LARA will likely ask for an accountant attestation (and this is where things may feel intrusive). The attestation verifies your financial history, almost like an audit. An accountant will look at your financial records and ask questions concerning:
Then, an accountant can provide a letter of attestation proving you are able to sustain a medical cannabis business if permitted.
Annual License Fee
The next requirement, after the capital requirement, is that businesses must pay an annual license fee to the state to be allowed to operate. Though the fee will be determined by the number of license applicants, experts estimate this fee could range from $10,000 - $57,000. Some municipalities may also include their own administrative fees.
As of December 2017, the licensing process was mapped out into two phases: pre-qualification and full license qualification. Pre-qualification will involve a criminal background check and $6,000 licensing fee. If you make it to the next phase, full license qualification, LARA experts will verify your business location, local government approval, and more.
In brief: Michigan’s licensing process for medical cannabis companies is involved. But, we believe in the long run, it’s worthwhile to start the application process sooner, rather than later. Your business will be ahead of the game should full-legalization happen in the coming months (or year).
For more questions on Michigan’s application process, check out LARA’s FAQs or contact one of our experts!