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Michigan Marijuana: Random Thoughts for a Pandemic

Recently, our client received notification from the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) that its application for an Adult-Use (A-U) Retail Enterprise is approved. It’s a beautiful letter. Included with it is an invoice for the license fee. Paid immediately which means technically, they can operate an Adult Use business because you don’t need a physical license.

Well, what happens next? As you may be aware (or not) licenses are only printed on certain days of the week and then, mailed to licensees.

Enforcement then schedules the required 7-day post-licensure Inspection. The licensee receives a Deficiency Notice. Why? A physical license is not on the wall, as it has not yet been received. When we check that out, the MRA said, “Well, you didn’t pick up the license.” BUT You can’t pick up a license. The MRA has prohibited picking up licenses in-person. So, the license sat there for a number of days before someone finally mailed it out.

Talk about a Catch 22 situation.

When it comes to Michigan marijuana regulation you can’t make this stuff up!

According to our information, Lume Cannabis Co. is about to be operating a State-Licensed Retail Enterprise on tribal lands. Are tribal lands a “municipality” under the State law? Are tribal lands a “city, village or township?”

As we understand it, the MRA determined that tribal lands are in and of itself some form of a municipality and since the tribal lands had not yet adopted an ordinance prohibiting Adult Use marijuana facilities, MRA must, therefore, issue the license for the operations on tribal lands.

I applaud the ingenuity but still haven’t figured out how that falls under the law as stated in MRTMA.

Consider this: could it be that the McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids, which was recently purchased by the Gun Lake Tribe is tribal lands? Could there be a cannabis retail enterprise operating on Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids even though prohibited by city ordinance?

It just doesn’t stop. People in cannabis are in an uproar now over the adult-use microbusiness license and the fact that no licenses have been awarded thus far. We even have potential franchisors now weighing in on the topic and suggesting the term “plant” be redefined. Just curious if anyone’s done the numbers on a potential operation? IRC 280e must be a lot of fun applying that to the usage. How often does one need to have a batch tested and what is a batch for a microbusiness?

To me, the logical location of a microbusiness is out possibly in the country. Zoning of course is a problem in a city because of having retail at the same place as industrial use. In any event, why not take a large building, design individual microbusiness spaces and lease them or sell them as condominium units? Kind of like a farmer’s market with stalls where members of the public could come and walk down the row and make purchases. That might work to get this business opportunity moving forward.

the state of Michigan flag with the state's motto and some wildlifeAnd talk about piling on: one of our State legislators recently introduced a bill which has been assigned to a committee. The bill prohibits marijuana caregiver operations in a residential neighborhood unless the municipality adopts an ordinance allowing it. If it had passed, it would have stopped most caregivers in their tracks and killed relationships with patients that count on them. The sponsor of the bill is Jeff Yaroch out of District 33. Yaroch dropped the bill after one week.

It makes us wonder if he’s running for re-election.

If you have questions about what’s going on in the Michigan marijuana industry and how it might affect your potential business—give us a call—we’ll do our very best to help get answers and see you through the licensing process.