How To Open A Marijuana Dispensary In Michigan – Laws & Licensing Info (2020)

Ever since it became a logistical possibility, I’ve researched how to open a dispensary in Michigan. Acquiring a Michigan dispensary license isn’t exactly the easiest thing, but it’s not impossible. And, if your passion is to open a dispensary in Michigan, then you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. You just need to know what to do in order to make it happen, that’s all.

The very first thing you have to come to grips with is that it’s going to take time. You’ll have to complete a lot of legal requirements and government approvals before you can even think about opening up for business anywhere in the state of Michigan.

For instance, there’s an entire prequalification process, consisting of multiple documents and background checks that need to be completed and approved before moving onward in the application process.

Michigan Dispensary Licensing Laws & How To Understand Them

But, if everything goes according to plan and there are no issues with those parts of the intricate procedure, you will then begin what is known as the license qualification phase of the process.

Now, during this part, you should be aware that a deeper dive into specific realms of your information will be needed, but it all depends on what kind of license it is that you are looking to obtain. There are varying degrees of information needed that correspond to these unique licenses, but if you are planning on opening up a dispensary, for instance, you can expect to encounter something akin to the following scenario.

For example, let’s say you have plans to open up a cannabis dispensary that will cater to both the medical and recreational crowds. In order to do that properly, you’ll need to submit an official application to do so with the state government. The terminology for this sort of application is referred to as a “Medical Marihuana Facilities License.”

How To Open A Marijuana Dispensary In Michigan - Laws & Licensing Info (2020)

Notice that unique spelling? Well, that’s no typo, friends. In the federal government’s official (super archaic) documentation on this wonderful herb, in which they list cannabis as a federally-illegal drug, they used the spelling of Marijuana with an “h” because that’s how it was spelled all those years ago. Now, you’d think something like that would be easy to fix, right? Well, you’d be wrong.

Just like anything in our government, it takes forever to do nothing, and such a change would require a full-blown act of Congress, and with everything else going on in this country, I’m sure this grammatical correction is at the bottom of their priority list. So, if you ever see such spelling on official documents and license applications, you’ll know why.

Anyway, if you are looking to open a dispensary that sells to medicinal marijuana patients and adult-use customers, you’ll need to fill out a Medical Marihuana Facilities License application and submit it to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

This license isn’t just for potential dispensary owners, though, it’s also for lab testing facilities, event organizers, provisioning services, transport services, processor companies, and growers, themselves.

Among the initial things you’ll need to worry about, when pondering the possibility of pioneering your own pot shop in Michigan, is your location. You’ll want it to land in a “green zone” so to speak, so if the building suits your fancy, and the address is able to get all the required permissions and licenses from the “powers that be,” you’ll be able to move forward with your dispensary dreams.

Another thing you need to consider, as far as locations go, is that your dispensary has to be at least 1,000 feet away from certain establishments, like schools, daycare centers, and liquor stores. Also, it can’t be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary. So, finding a spot may serve to be a bit difficult, but if you know where to look, you should be able to find an adequate location to set up shop.

Also, it should be noted that the Marijuana Regulatory Agency in Michigan created a unique Social Equity Program that is specifically designed to help communities that were unjustly targeted more than others during the government's failed war on drugs.

They offer up a litany of different tax and revenue incentives, so be sure to check with your local government officials to get the most up-to-date information in this regard.

While you’re there, make sure to educate yourself on the following laws that are currently in place in the great state of Michigan:

  • Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA)*
  • Michigan’s Marijuana Tracking Act
  • Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act

*Some cities, regardless of the legal nature of their business, have fully opted out of allowing MRTMA dispensaries from opening up in their neighborhoods.

As far as taxes go, you should know that there is a 6% “sale and use tax on state-wide sales of cannabis.” Also, there is a 3% tax on “gross retail paid by the provisioning center to the Michigan Treasury Online.” And let’s not forget to mention the 10% in additional taxes for recreational marijuana, but that number is expected to fluctuate, so be sure to stay updated on that number, as well.

Under MMFLA Section 333.27504, “Retail stores cannot allow consumption of marijuana unless they have a specific license and designated smoking areas.” There is also, “no selling food or alcohol at a dispensary.” It doesn’t matter if all the customers are 21 or over (which they need to be), you still have to keep things about cannabis, and only about cannabis.

If you happen to have any questions about the intricacies of these rules, or about the entire dispensary application process, in general, you should know about the following two organizations that will be happy to assist you, as well as answer any questions you may have on the matter:

  • Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: (517) 284-6400
  • Marijuana Regulatory Agency
    • Licensing Division: (517) 284-8599
    • Enforcement Division: (517) 284-8597

Now that you’re armed with this smattering of law and licensing knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to take on the entire process without any problems whatsoever.

Good luck, my fellow ganja-prenuers!



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