Michigan has passed a revised marijuana framework, which comprises five types of marijuana licenses. If you’re thinking of setting up a business that dispenses either medical or recreational marijuana in Michigan, it’s essential to be aware of changes in legislation and to familiarize yourself with the different types of license set out by LARA.

A Brief Overview of Marijuana Legislation in Michigan

Before December 2017, it was technically illegal to establish or operate a business that dispensed medical marijuana in Michigan. There were a few temporary agreements in place, but the vast majority of businesses have been established in the last 12 months. On December 15th 2017, the State of Michigan started to grant licenses in accordance with the guidelines stipulated in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Although state law permits the use and distribution of medical marijuana, it is crucial to understand that there are restrictions in place. Despite changes in the law, it remains illegal to own, use or grow marijuana with an intent to deliver, and this can create gray areas. If you wish to engage in business that involves medical marijuana, you’ll need to apply for a license. There are 5 types of licenses provided by the State of Michigan, and they have varied criteria and restrictions.


Medical Marijuana Licenses in Michigan

If you plan to apply for a medical marijuana license in Michigan, you’ll need to ensure that you apply for the right license. There are 5 options, including:


Grower License

A grower license is classified as type A, B or C. The letter relates to the number of plants you can grow as follows:

  • Class A: 500 plants
  • Class B: 1,000 plants
  • Class C: 1,500 plants

With a grower license, a grower is permitted to grow, dry, trim and cure cannabis for sale to a provisioning center or a processor. There are restrictions on the transportation of marijuana. A secure transporter must be used unless the processor or provisioning center is in the same location as the grower. The grower must enter every transfer into a monitoring system. In order to obtain a grower license, the individual must not have a vested interest in either a secure transporter or a safety compliance center. Until December 2021, anyone with a grower license must have either 2 years of experience as a primary caregiver or employ somebody who has this level of expertise without holding a current position as a caregiver. License holders must input all transactions and inventories into the state’s monitoring system.


Processor License

A processor license permits you to buy marijuana from a grower with a view to selling marijuana-based products to another processor or a provisioning center. To transfer marijuana, license holders must utilize secure transportation unless they are based in the same location as the grower or the provisioning center, or they are using private roads. To obtain a license, processors must not have an interest in secure transportation systems or safety compliance facilities. As with a grower license, processors must record all transactions in the state’s monitoring system and have themselves or employ somebody else who has a minimum of 2 years of experience as a primary caregiver.


Secure Transporter License

A secure transporter license permits you to store and distribute marijuana and funds generated by the sale of marijuana between specific facilities on the request of an individual who has legal control of the marijuana in exchange for a fee.

To obtain a secure transporter license, the individual must not have an interest in either a grower or processor or a provisioning center. License holders should also not be registered caregivers or patients. Secure transporter license holders must record all transactions and additional useful information via the state’s monitoring system. A plan of the route should also be entered into the system and a copy kept in the vehicle. Anyone who has custody of marijuana should not have been charged with a crime or released from prison in the last 5 years. At least 2 people should be involved in the transportation of medical marijuana, with one staying with the vehicle at all times. Marijuana must be transported using sealed, secure containers, and vehicles should not be marked in any way that suggests that they are transporting marijuana.


Provisioning Center License

A provisioning center license permits the transfer of medical marijuana from a grower or a processor to a patient or their primary caregiver. Marijuana should be transported by a secure vehicle. A provisioning center license also allows for the secure transfer of marijuana to or from a safety compliance center for assessment. License holders must not have an interest in secure transportation or in a safety compliance facility.

To hold a provisioning center license, you must sell marijuana only after it has been tested, approved and labeled, and you should record all transactions in the statewide monitoring system. License holders should also use the system to verify the details of patients and primary caregivers.


Safety Compliance Facility License

A safety compliance facility license allows for the transfer and testing of marijuana, which is used to certify safety and quality. Safety compliance facilities must be approved by a board-certified entity, and any license holders should not have an interest in a grower, processor, provisioning center or secure transporter.

A safety compliance facility should perform the following tests:

  • Certification that marijuana is free from chemical residues, including fungicides and pesticides
  • Tests to check levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and cannabidiol acid
  • Tests for microbial and mycotoxin content
  • Additional compliance tests to certify that expected standards have been reached

The facility must be secure, and all transactions and inventories should be noted in the state monitoring system.

If you plan to launch a Michigan marijuana business, it’s vital that you understand the different types of licenses and that you have the relevant license before you get started. The type of license will depend on what kind of business you intend to establish. If you’re unsure about medical marijuana licenses or changes in legislation, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice.