Growing the Roots
In November 2008, Michigan became the 13th state in the US to legalize medical cannabis with Proposition 1, the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. Voters overwhelmingly passed the law with a 63% to 37% margin. However, Michigan’s cannabis laws did not explicitly permit retail dispensaries, known as Provisioning Centers, which wasn’t good for robust growth. They essentially operated in a quasi-legal or gray area until government actions in 2013 and 2016 helped clarify and strengthen the legality of the Provisioning Centers. To this day, these stores may only sell cannabis to patients with valid medical marijuana ID cards.
In November 2018, voters approved the “MICHIGAN REGULATION AND TAXATION OF MARIHUANA ACT” which set the framework for adult-use sales to begin on December 1, 2019. Regardless of the infamous spelling of Marihuana, this made Michigan the 10th US state to permit adults age 21 and over to purchase cannabis without the need for a medical recommendation.
Certain statutory requirements in the Act initially caused a bit of upheaval for the cannabis business community. To ease the transition into adult-use sales, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Witmer signed emergency regulations that remain in place until July 3, 2020. Various media outlets reported that a total of six dispensaries, mostly in the college town of Ann Arbor were open for adult-use sales on December 1, 2019. Nearly $ 1.6 million in sales were reportedly earned in the first week. Near-term growth prospects are trending upward as additional dispensaries are expected to begin adult-use sales by March 2020.
Who’s In Charge?
Michigan’s cannabis laws and regulations are enforced by its Marijuana Regulatory Agency housed within the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The MRA requires both Provisioning Centers and adult-use stores to use Metrc, the seed to sale tracking platform whereby the plant (or product) is literally tracked from the seed to the flower or cannabis product’s eventual retail sale. Fortunately, Blaze cannabis software seamlessly integrates with Metrc to better serve our Michigan customers.
What Cannabis Products Can I Buy in Michigan?
Cannabis sales in Michigan currently include flower, concentrates, edibles, infused products, clones, and seeds.
Who Can Get a License?
Michigan’s MRA utilizes a two-step approval process. First, the applicant must be pre-qualified which includes background checks for anyone connected to the license. Applicants must pay a $6,000 non-refundable application fee for each separate prequalification submitted for review. If the applicant passes the pre-qualification round, they move on to the next step which requires more detailed information and the type of cannabis company they seek to operate. Licensing fees are then paid in addition to the application fee and range in price depending on the type of license. Currently, to obtain an adult-use license, only owners who possess a Provisioning Center license may apply for an adult-use license. This will remain the law of the land in Michigan until November 1, 2021.
Michigan cannabis laws and regulations also require that the applicant have a retail location in place when applying, and it goes without saying it must be in a city or town that permits provisioning centers and retail dispensaries. Unfortunately, an “unofficial” MRA Report indicates that nearly 1,400 cities have currently opted out of permitting adult-use dispensaries.
Social Equity for Social Justice
The MRA includes a Social Equity Program to promote and encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition and the failed War on Drugs to positively impact those communities.
Medical Cannabis Requirements
Michigan has a variety of medical conditions that qualify for medical treatment, and patients age 21 and older must have a valid medical marijuana ID card. As of December 2019, patients and registered primary caregivers may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis per day for each qualifying patient. However, there is a 10-ounce monthly limit. Patients may not possess more than 15 grams of cannabis concentrates, but they may grow up to 12 cannabis plants.
Registration cards for qualifying patients below the age of 18 are only issued if the qualifying patient’s parent or legal guardian submits a written certification from two physicians and consents in writing to the qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana. Medical marijuana is taxed at six percent.
- Transport up to 2.5 ounces away from home (except where prohibited like schools).
- Possess up to 10 ounces at home and all but 2.5 ounces must be safely locked up.
- Grow up to 12 cannabis plants.
- Possess no more than 15 grams of cannabis concentrate.
- Gift up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and no more than 15 grams of concentrate to a person 21 years of age or older, as long it’s a private transaction.
Adult-use cannabis sales have an excise tax of 10 percent in addition to the state’s 6 percent sales tax. A retailer who holds both a Provisioning Center license and an adult-use license may operate out of the same facility but the products themselves must be located at different places within the store. For both medical and adult-use consumers, cannabis may not be smoked in public places that lack a consumption license.
Michigan is well on its way in creating a growing cannabis community and Blaze is proud to be part of it from seed to sale. How may we help you?