Differences in Implementation
Commercial medical marijuana was ushered into Michigan in late 2016 through the passing and signing of House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4287. These bills eventually became three new acts, and each act is itself a series of individually numbered statutes or laws.
In addition to these State granted licenses, medical marijuana entrepreneurs need to work with their local governments to procure the local licenses and permits required to establish a medical marijuana business. Applying for a Michigan commercial medical marijuana license is necessary because the municipality in which a person wants to operate must pass an ordinance which authorizes the type of facility they wish to open. The municipality must receive notice from the business owner that they have applied for any one of the five licenses. The municipality must also approve the business owner’s request to have their license transferred, sold or purchased.
Although House Bill 4209 did alter the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, if an individual is a medical marijuana patient or caregiver, little has changed. However, for caregivers and other people who want to commercially grow and provide medical marijuana related products, the new licensing laws establish protection and regulations that never existed. These laws and protections govern the proper growth, transportation, testing and sale of medical marijuana. In the past, there was a great deal of uncertainty relative to all of these categories. Thus, if someone possessed, transported, or sold medical marijuana it was relatively easy to violate the law, even when actively attempting not to.
Despite the lack of legislation legitimizing the growth and sale of medical marijuana, in some areas of Michigan, the police would not bother an individual if they wanted to grow or sell medical marijuana to appropriate patients. But, in other counties, the police would shut down these facilities, and a person could face serious felony criminal charges. However, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and the Marijuana Tracking Act now provide a framework for regulations for those who want to legally and commercially transport, cultivate, test process, or sell medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Legislation in Michigan
People who engaged in possessing, transporting, or selling medical marijuana activities publicly, such as may be the case when opening and running a marijuana dispensary, were often unfairly subjected to an arrest and prosecution, or at the very least the shutting down of the facility. This was all happening under the “old” law because the MMMA was not clear about what was and was not allowed in terms of marijuana dispensation. The MMMA refers and primarily addresses marijuana consumption by medical patients. It does very little to clarify how the marijuana can be distributed. In other words, it required but did not allow a variety of business relationships.
These statutes are set forth in what are now the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, and the Marijuana Tracking Act. Collectively, these acts allow the licensing of:
Michigan now has almost three times more active legal cannabis cultivation licenses than it did just seven months ago. As of July 31, there are 906 active cultivation licenses for 308 companies, compared to last December with 327 licenses for 205 companies according to data collected by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency and analyzed by Grown In. You can download a complete list of licenses here.
Michigan operates two separate tracks for medical and adult-use licensing, so many companies obtain both medical and adult-use licenses for the same location. The state also allows license “stacking” where a grower can obtain multiple “Class C” licenses, which allow up to 2,000 plants per license. The state also offers Class B, for up to 500 plants, and Class A, for up to 100 plants.