Cannabis in Michigan is legal for both medical and recreational use. There are currently nearly a quarter million medical marijuana patients in Michigan making the state second only to California in the number of licensed patients. In 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Industry analysts ArcView Group projects that Michigan will have $556 million in sales by 2020 when the first recreational cannabis dispensaries are expected to open making Michigan the third-largest grossing cannabis industry in the nation behind California and Colorado. Moreover, these values are expected to increase as recreational use ramps up.
Recently, by executive order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan consolidated regulatory oversight into the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency which will take over the duties from the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation. In addition to regulating the marijuana industry, the MMRA is also responsible for approving medical marijuana license applications as well as creating rules for Michigan's recreational adult use market. The agency is expected to issue emergency rules for recreational licenses and begin accepting license applications by the fall of 2018.
The MMRA has a 2019 budget of roughly $19.7 million. Recommendations for the 2020 fiscal year would increase the agency's funding to $22 million to account for the additional regulatory requirements of Michigan’s recreational use market.
The agency has said that it anticipates issuing emergency rules for recreational marijuana by June or July of 2019 and licensing is expected to begin later in the year.
Since a new “rolling application process” was implemented, a large backlog of medical marijuana license applications are now being processed in a timely manner. Although application reviews are no longer public, the agency expects to hold quarterly public hearings to solicit public comments.
With the passing of Proposal 1 in 2018, Michigan became the first Midwest state to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana and is now the second-most populous state in the country to do so. The personal possession and home cultivation of marijuana became legal for Michigan adults 21 and older 10 days after the election results were certified by the Secretary of State. Adult-use marijuana sales are not expected to begin in Michigan until 2020.
Marijuana Business Daily projects Michigan’s recreational cannabis market will generate $1.4 billion-$1.7 billion in annual sales within several years of launching, making it one of the largest in the nation.
Michigan Marijuana Regulations History
Michigan’s foray into legal marijuana market began in November 2008, when the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative (Proposal 1) was approved by Michigan voters allowing patients with a physician's recommendation to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for treatment of a list of qualifying medical conditions. This first step did not facilitate the development of a regulated market and made no provisions for operational dispensaries.
In 2016, Michigan passed a series of bills collectively referred to as the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, or MMFLA. The act created a medical marijuana licensing process and a regulatory system for the production and sale of medical marijuana.
- House Bill 4209/Public Act 281, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, allowed for the licensing and regulation of medical marijuana growers, processors, dispensaries, transporters, and safety compliance. It also established a medical marijuana licensing board within LARA.
- House Bill 4210/Public Act 282 provided protection for the medical use of marijuana and the creation of a system for licensing qualified patients and primary caregivers.
- House Bill 4827/Public Act 283, the Marihuana Tracking Act, established a statewide seed-to-sale monitoring system.
The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) began accepting medical marijuana license applications on December 15, 2017.
On October 1, 2018, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced that all existing medical marijuana operations must be licensed by October 31, 2018 and state submitted Emergency Rules governing the process.
Ten years after Prop 1 passed, On November 6, 2018, Michigan voters approved The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, making Michigan the first state in the Midwest to create a recreational marijuana market.
Under the act, responsibility for marijuana licensing, regulation, and enforcement falls under the Michigan Department of Regulatory Affairs (LARA). LARA’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation (BMR) is responsible for the oversight of medical and adult-use (recreational) marijuana in Michigan.
It’s important to note that local municipalities will be able to opt out or limit the number of marijuana businesses within their borders. This unofficial document compiled by Bureau of Marijuana Regulation staff shows municipalities which have opted out of the program.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Regulations
Michigan growers, processors, and dispensaries are required to be licensed by both the city and state in order to legally cultivate and process marijuana. Licensing and business requirements for growers vary from city to city.
As of June 13, 2018, Michigan had processed 546 pre-qualification applications and over 150 facility license applications.
Fees for a city/municipality license can run up to $5000, and there’s a nonrefundable state application fee of $6000.
- marijuana cultivation (tiered structure of grower licenses)
- marijuana concentrates production (processor license)
- marijuana transportation (secure transporter license)
- medical marijuana retail (provisioning center license – note: it is illegal to refer to these as dispensaries)
- marijuana laboratory testing (safety compliance facility license).
There are three licensing levels for growers:
- Class A – 500 plants
- Class B- 1000 plants
- Class C- 1500 plants
There is a two-step process for applications. Applicants who have secured a location prior to applying will have the option of submitting both sets of materials at the same time.
Pre-Qualification includes a full background check of the applicant and all supplemental applicants. Applicants must disclose all individuals and businesses with an indirect or direct ownership interest. This step can be implemented before a location has been secured.
The second step, License Qualification, requires information specific to the physical location of the applicant’s business as well as to which type of facility license the potential licensee is applying.
A BMMR representative is assigned to each applicant and should be in communication with the applicant throughout the process.
After License Qualification (step two) is completed, BMMR will present the completed application to the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB).
Upon approval from the MMLB, an applicant will be required to pay a regulatory assessment for each license. Once the regulatory assessment is received, the license(s) will be issued.
Applicants are ineligible if they have been convicted of or released from incarceration for a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or the United States (federal law) or has been convicted of a controlled substance-related felony within the past 10 years. Furthermore, applicants are ineligible if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving a controlled substance, theft, dishonesty, or fraud in any state within the past 5 years.
Applicants must also demonstrate their ability to maintain adequate premises liability and casualty insurance for its proposed marihuana facility. For a Class A license, the applicants must show $150,000.00 in attested assets, with $37,500 of that being liquid. For a Class B license, the applicants must show $300,000.00 in attested assets, with $75,000.00 of that being liquid. For a Class C license, the applicants must show $500,000.00, with $125,000.00 of that being liquid.
Applicants are also required to submit a business plan which demonstrates a strong understanding of the operation of a cannabis business. The business plan must include a security plan, marketing plan, facility plan, staffing plan, technology plan, record-keeping plan, waste disposal plan, community plan.
In order for a location to be approved, it must not be in a city that has opted out of the program, and it must comply with the municipality’s ordinances and zoning regulations.
Upon approval, applicants must pay a regulatory assessment for each license.
- Class B and C growers - $48,000.00
- Class A growers - $10,000.00
These fees are subject to change.
Michigan Recreational Marijuana Regulations
Michigan recreational marijuana regulations mandates that LARA establishes, awards, and regulates the following recreational marijuana license types:
- Marijuana retailer
- Marijuana safety compliance facility
- Marijuana secure transporter
- Marijuana processor
- Marijuana microbusiness
- Class A marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100
- Class B marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500
- Class C marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000
Michigan Hemp Regulations
As of mid-April 2019, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) was beginning work on comprehensive hemp cultivation and processing regulations as required by the 2018 federal farm appropriations bill which legalized the cultivation and processing of hemp and CBD oil nationwide.
The State is prohibited by federal law from issuing registrations or licenses created by the Act until the state plan is submitted and approved by USDA. USDA has 60 days after submittal for review and approval.
Current Michigan Hemp Regulations
In 2015, after the signing of the 2014 federal farm appropriations bill which created a hemp pilot program, Michigan passed a number of bills which collectively created comprehensive hemp regulations. Another set of bills was passed in 2010 to after medical marijuana was legalized in the state delineate hemp and marijuana regulations.
- HB 5439 - Agriculture; other; industrial hemp; authorize research
- HB 5440 - Controlled substances; marihuana; definition of “marihuana”; revise to exclude industrial hemp grown or cultivated for research.
- HB 6480 - Agriculture; products; regulations and oversight for growing and processing industrial hemp; establish.
- HB 6479 - Agriculture; products; committee to study the uses of industrial hemp; create.
- HR 314 - A resolution to memorialize Congress and the administration to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity and to take certain steps to remove barriers in order to encourage the commercial production of this crop.
How To Apply For a Michigan Cannabis Business License
Applications can be submitted via an online process or in person or by mail using a paper application.
An online account can be created at https://aca3.accela.com/MIMM/Default.aspx.
Required Documents and Information
A number of documents are required to be submitted with each application.
- A passport quality photo and a copy of their government-issued ID.
- Official business registration document
- Copy of bylaws and other governing documents (corporations)
- Certificate of good standing
- Approval to conduct business transactions in Michigan
- Trademark, service mark or insignia registration documents
- Copy of organizational structure
- Authorizing resolution
- Certificate of assumed name
- Information on financial accounts from the last three years
- CPA attested financial statement
- Copies of statements for each listed account for the last three years
- Information about real estate, debt, insolvency, and bankruptcy
- Tax returns for the past three years
Michigan Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Forms and Applications
- CPA Attestation
- Paper Application
- Application Instructions Booklet
- Online Application
- API Agreement for METRC Integrators
- Accela Application Demo
- MMFL Application Document Checklist
- Updated Consent Form for the Sale or Transfer of Untested Marihuana Product
- Statement of Money Lender Form
One of the most valuable resources for information on Michigan marijuana regulations is the state’s FAQ which answers numerous common questions.
- Licensing Questions
- Regulatory Questions
- Grow Process Questions
- Provisioning Center Questions
- Secure Transporter Questions
- Statewide Marihuana Monitoring System
- Proposed Facilities Continuing to Operate with Local Approval
- Additional Questions
- BMR Bulletins
- Laws, Rules and Other Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Applications and Forms
- Map Of Active Medical Marijuana Facilities
- Industrial Hemp
- An Overview of Michigan's Recreational Marijuana Law
- Legislative Reports
- LARA FOIA Process
- Registration for a Health Care License
- Business Entity Search
- Online Liquor Ordering
- Verify a License
Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Application Section Mailing Address:
- Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing
- P.O. Box 30205
- Lansing, MI 48909
Phone Number: 517-284-8599
Michigan Medical Marijuana Program Mailing Address:
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
- Bureau of Marijuana Regulation
- Michigan Medical Marijuana Program
- P.O. Box 30083
- Lansing, MI 48909
- Phone Number: 517-284-6400
Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Enforcement Section Mailing Address:
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
- Bureau of Marijuana Regulation
- Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing
- P.O. Box 30205
- Lansing, MI 48909
- Phone Number: 517-284-8597
- Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposal 1 (2008)
- More details regarding MRTMA
- More details regarding adult-use marijuana from the BMR
- March 29, 2019: The Bureau of Marijuana Regulation and the Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development issued joint guidance on CBD (cannabidiol) and industrial hemp.