Starting December 15, medical marijuana facilities will be able to apply to do business in Michigan. Less than two weeks before they can submit their applications, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has finally released the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. The rules were filed on an emergency basis owing to the tight timeline of businesses gearing up to get in the legal cannabis game.
Hotly Contested Regulations
In 2016, Michigan’s legislature passed a set of laws allowing licensed businesses to grow, process, transport and dispense medical marijuana. The laws brought businesses out of a legal grey area, putting the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and its newly-formed Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation in charge of issuing the rules governing their operation.
The details of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act were the subject of contentious hearings before the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. The Michigan House Fiscal Agency projects the legal cannabis market to be a $837 million business, and there are many potential investors hoping to grab a slice of the pot pie.
Required Start-Up Capital
The 33-page document issued on December 4th outlines rules governing marketing and advertising restrictions, tracking identification, labeling, security measures, fire codes, and much more. One much-debated portion of the rules states that potential licensees must have a certain amount of start-up capital. Under Rule 11 (out of 51 outlined in the document), the following amounts will be required from applicants:
(a) Grower: Class A – $150,000
(b) Grower: Class B – $300,000
(c) Grower: Class C – $500,000
(d) Processor: $300,000
(e) Provisioning Center: $300,000
(f) Secure Transporter: $200,000
(g) Safety Compliance Facility: $200,000
At a hearing in October, some members of the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board expressed concerns about requiring a certain amount of capital. Board member David LaMontaine said the requirement could keep some existing businesses from getting licensed under the act.
“It seems to me we’re placing barriers to the marketplace,” he stated.
Nevertheless, the capitalization provision stands, along with 50 other carefully outlined regulations.
Emergency Rules Designed for Patient Protection
Speaking to Michigan Live, Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation Director Andrew Brisbo said, “The emergency administrative rules are designed to preserve patient protections and provide them with access to safe medical marihuana.”
He continued: “These rules also allow growers, processors, secure transporters, provisioning centers and safety compliance facilities to operate under clear requirements.”
The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation is working with the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board to issue a set of permanent rules.
We continue to hope that Michigan, as predicted, will be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana.