The Medical Marihuana* Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”) was signed by Michigan Governor Snyder on September 20, 2016, and becomes effective 90 days thereafter. By its terms there is a 360 day delay until the first license applications can be filed with the State. How long it will take to get the first license approved and issued is currently anybody’s guess. We’ll wait and see what the rules (not yet issued) say for additional guidance.
While there are many other details about the licensing application process, and actual licenses, that are also still undeveloped, some are well defined. In particular, there are five categories of licenses that may be issued under the law: grower, processor, provisioning center, secure transporter and safety compliance facility.
As we have previously blogged, a threshold condition to obtaining a license requires every applicant to show that the city, village or township in which they intend to locate has passed an ordinance allowing their type of marijuana facility. If such an ordinance has been adopted, then the following licenses may issue.
License is divided into three classes, A, B and C, which may cultivate 500, 1000, and 1500 plants respectively, and may sell marijuana only to a processor or provisioning center. The marijuana sold by the grower must be transported by a secure transporter. Neither an applicant for a grower license nor any investor may have any interest in a secure transporter or a safety facility. Until the beginning of 2022 the grower (or an active employee) must have had 2 years of experience as a caregiver under the MMMA, but may never hold a current caregiver certificate (nor employ anyone who does). A grower must comply with seed to sale tracking, and may not operate in any area unless unzoned or zoned agricultural or industrial.
May buy marijuana only from a grower, and sell it (or products made from it) only to a provisioning center. The limitations on growers regarding transport, cross ownership, caregiver status and experience, and seed to sale tracking also apply to processors.
May store and transport marijuana and money between facilities for a fee, but are not authorized to transport marijuana to a patient or caregiver. A transport license applicant and investor may not have an interest in any other marijuana licensee, nor be a patient or caregiver. Like all licensees, they must comply with seed to sale tracking. Every driver must have a chauffeur’s license, and any employee who will have custody of marijuana or money must pass criminal background checks. Vehicles must have 2 person crews, enter route plans, use sealed containers, not bear markings that it is transporting marijuana, and are subject to administrative inspection.
May buy or receive marijuana only from a grower or processor, and sell or transfer no more than the daily limit of tested and labeled marijuana only to a verified patient or caregiver. All inbound product from a separate grower or processor, and outbound transfers to a safety facility, must be by secure transport. Neither an applicant for a provisioning center license nor any investor may have any interest in a secure transporter or a safety facility. The facility may not allow alcohol or tobacco sale or use, and may not allow a physician to examine or certify patients for marijuana use.
Safety Compliance Facility
May only receive from, and test for, a marijuana facility. A license applicant and investor may not own or be cross owned with any other licensee. The licensee must be accredited under criteria, have staff who meet degree requirements, and perform various tests, all as detailed in the law. The facility shall comply with seed to sale tracking, and maintain laboratory space not accessible to the general public.
In our next blogs we will examine the economics of the license application process and ongoing fees for a facility. These will include local and State application fees, annual regulatory assessments, potential taxes and other economic elements under the act.
*As with other Michigan statutes, the Legislature has chosen to spell marihuana with an “h.” And as with other commentators, we follow the more accepted spelling using a “j.”