Marijuana Facilities In

Michigan

Updates on Rules, Real Estate, Licenses, and Permits
Michigan does not limit the number of marijuana licenses in the state. As long as you follow the process and meet the criteria relating to financials and criminal background, you can obtain a license in Michigan.

Cannabis Property For Sale And Lease In

Michigan

Update December 7, 2021 - The Largest Marijuana Recall

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) issued a recall for Marijuana products sold in more than 400 retailers on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. A full list of retailers affected by this recall was issued in the 31 page notice and has been uploaded here. This recall has been termed the largest marijuana recall to have taken place in Michigan since the commercial/retail market opened in 2019.

Marijuana Products Included

According to the recall, all marijuana products tested by Viridis North, LLC and Viridis Laboratories, LLC between August 10, 2021 and November 16, 2021 are included. The exceptions being inhalable marijuana concentrate products. Examples of those would be; vape cartridges, live resin, distillates, and other cannabis concentrates created through residual solvent extractions.

Greg Michaud, the CEO of Viridis Laboratories was quoted from a prepared statement stating “While we strongly disagree with this decision and firmly stand by our test results, we are fully cooperating with the MRA and working closely with our customers to minimize interruptions and retest affected products at no cost,”

Consumer’s Affected By The Recall

According to the recall notice consumers with weakened immune systems or lung disease are at the highest risk for health-related incidents such as aspergillosis, which can impact lung function, if these potentially harmful products are consumed.

The MRA is urging consumers who have experienced adverse reactions to contact their doctor with their symptoms and product use. As well as, they are requesting a report of the reactions to be submitted to the MRA at MRAEnforcement@michigan.gov or 517-284-8599.

The recall does not give a reason to the recall other than,  “inaccurate and/or unreliable results” just stating that an MRA investigation is still on-going. According to the same prepared statement referenced above the companies have been cleared to continue testing at both of their locations and look forward to continuing to serve their amazing customers. Mr. Michaud went on to say that their mission is promoting the health and safety of patients and adult-use consumers.

If you have marijuana products in your possession that meet the recall criteria you may return the products to the marijuana sales location where they were purchased. These products will have a license number of SC-000009, AU-SC-000113, SC-000014 or AU-SC-000103.

In Response To The Recall

Less than a week following the recall Viridis North, LLC and Viridis Laboratories, LLC filed a lawsuit against the MRA in the Michigan Court of Claims. The companies claim that the recall affected nearly $229 million worth of marijuana products.

Although the MRA cannot comment on a pending litigation, Attorney Kevin Blair or Honigman, LLP released a statement which included, “The MRA has disregarded industry experts, widely accepted scientific practices, caused disruption through its reckless and arbitrary decision-making, and ultimately put the patients and consumers it is charged with protecting at risk.”

With the lawsuit itself stating “This case illustrates the extraordinary dangers created when a state administrative agency is allowed to regulate from the shadows without proper oversight by a neutral, detached decision-maker and, worst of all, motivated at least in part by what appears to be the whims and political objectives of its director and employees.”

Update 3-16-2021 - Recreational Applications Now Being Accepted

Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in November of 2018, but it has been a full year and there are still no adult-use facilities in the state. But as of November 1st, Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency started accepting adult-use marijuana business applications. The agency plans to issue the first recreational licenses to businesses that are already licensed to cultivate, distribute, process, test or transport medical marijuana. These licenses should be issued by late November, according to agency spokesman David Harns.

Although these license applications may be approved, Michigan residents may have to wait months before recreational marijuana is available for purchase. There are currently no growers with recreational licenses, and no supply of legal recreational marijuana. With the plant’s growing cycle taking several months, plus processing, producing and packaging requiring time as well, it will be a while before adult-use marijuana is ready to be sold. The state believes retail marijuana and marijuana products will be ready to hit the market by March of 2020.

“If the state takes all of the 90 days afforded to them by law to review our application and grant us a license, then we could start producing that adult-use product,”  says co-founder at Green Peak Innovations. “It does appear the state is going to make us begin those plants from seed or clone, so that would take another six months to grow the product, harvest it, pass testing, package it up and get it on the market, so anywhere from six to nine months from Nov. 1 is how we’re modeling it.”

Another obstacle presenting itself is finding a municipality within Michigan that allows recreational marijuana facilities within city limits. On November 5th, 2019, many cities and townships held an election with a recreational marijuana proposal on the ballot. Most of these proposals were voted down, but a few have decided to allow recreational facilities.

Lincoln Park, a city just south of Detroit, voted to allow adult-use marijuana facilities within its limits. But Allen Park, the city directly west of Lincoln Park, voted down a proposal to allow these facilities.

In Ann Arbor, where recreational marijuana businesses are allowed, the owners of Exclusive Brands are excited to be named the first ever applicant, submitting the application at 12:17am on November 1st. Exclusive Brands already holds several medical marijuana state licenses, so they will likely be approved more quickly than other applicants.

By noon on November 1st, eleven businesses had already submitted applications, three of which have already completed prequalification, the first step in the two-step application process.

The first step, prequalification, is based on researching the applicant’s background. According to LARA, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Pre-Qualification will include a full background check of the applicant and all supplemental applicants. This includes – but is not limited to – individuals or businesses with an ownership interest in the applicant.  

The second step, License Qualification, is more focused on the actual business plans, activities, and building inspections. LARA states, “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. If applicants have a location secured, they will have the option of submitting Pre-Qualification (step one) and License Qualification (step two) materials at the same time.”

Once both Prequalification and License Qualification are complete, and all requirements in the MMFLA and administrative rules are met, the completed application is presented to the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB). Upon approval from the MMLB, an applicant will be required to pay a regulatory assessment fee for each license. Once the regulatory assessment is received, the license is issued.

By the end of November 1st, a total of 52 businesses had submitted applications, according to Crain’s Detroit. Business owners have high hopes; that their applications will be approved quickly so they can begin producing and selling adult-use marijuana soon. Residents of Michigan seem to be excited as well, as many have been eagerly waiting an entire year to see marijuana retail stores open.

Update - October 8, 2020 - Michigan To Ease Restrictions On Recreational Marijuana Licenses

Michigan to allow recreational - only facilities a year ahead of schedule

Beginning March 1, 2021, Michigan will grant recreational-only licenses to businesses, according to a Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency Bulletin released on October 6th. In an effort to minimize the illegal marijuana market, businesses that do not hold a medical marijuana facility license will be able to apply for an adult-use license.

As the requirements to qualify for recreational marijuana licenses are eased, medically licensed businesses may be negatively impacted. The value of medical marijuana licenses is expected to plunge. As a result, many medical marijuana facility owners are planning to shift to adult-use licensing.

As the commercial marijuana market in the state grows, the impact of the illicit market still continues to be a major concern. Cannabis products from the illegal market are not grown or processed under the same conditions required in the regulated market. Nor are they tested by state-licensed safety compliance facilities for unsafe contaminants. The illicit market fills the void where licensed facilities are not available to meet consumer demand.

According to data provided by the Michigan State Police, 83% of seizures of illicit marijuana products occur in municipalities that do not have state-licensed marijuana establishments.

As municipalities throughout the state consider ordinances to allow marijuana establishments, the current eligibility restrictions act as a barrier to many budding entrepreneurs. Greater municipal participation is critical to reducing the impact of the illicit market.

Once licensed by the state, new recreational cannabis facilities will aid in boosting Michigan’s marijuana product supply, as well as provide more convenient retail access to Michigan residents.

According to Michigan’s top cannabis regulator, Michigan is considering making recreational-only licenses available to marijuana businesses a year ahead of schedule. The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the state, included provisions that kept non-medical cannabis license holders from entering the adult-use market until 2021. This was an effort to give a competitive advantage to the operators who had developed the state’s medical cannabis industry.

As of now, certain types of Michigan marijuana businesses must acquire and hold a medical marijuana license before being allowed to apply for an adult-use license. These include Class B, Class C, and Excess Marijuana Grower licenses, as well as Transport, Retail, and Processor licenses.  Medical marijuana licensing is not required for adult-use Class A Growers, Microbusinesses, Consumption Establishments, Safety Compliance Facilities, or events.

This rule limits the entrepreneurs who may not have the funds for both types of licenses, and unnecessarily prolongs the licensing process.

To acquire a medical marijuana license, a business must first achieve prequalification. This is done by submitting documents for consideration, and paying a $6,000 fee. All persons who are involved in the potential marijuana business will have a background check.  If the medical marijuana license application passes the first step, the business will enter the license qualification phase. License qualification requires specific information about the physical location of the applicant’s business, as well as which type of facility license the potential licensee is applying for.  After license qualification is completed, the application is presented to the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. Upon approval from the MMLB, the applicant will be required to pay a regulatory assessment for each license. Once the assessment is received, the license is issued.  If the business is granted a medical marijuana license, it now qualifies to apply for an adult-use marijuana license. At this point, many of the previous steps must be repeated, including paying another $6,000 application fee.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) is discussing whether to remove the requirement that businesses must hold a medical cannabis business license, in order to apply for an adult-use license. This means that entrepreneurs may be able to apply for a standalone adult-use cannabis licenses as early as November first of this year. The plan, if approved, would open up new business opportunities in Michigan’s adult-use industry. This includes the possibility of more social equity licensing. The state’s program remains restricted though, because only about 60 municipalities have approved adult use facilities, while roughly 1,400 have opted out.

MRA spokesman, David Harns, says a final decision hasn’t been made yet. Discussions are still ongoing with stakeholders and industry regulators. The potential plan to allow stand-alone recreational licenses a year ahead of schedule was disclosed by Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), in an interview with Crain’s Detroit Business. Brisbo told Crain’s that obtaining both a medical and recreational license might be too high of a barrier to entry, especially in cities like Detroit.

Michigan’s legislation offered the Marijuana Regulatory Agency the option to remove these provisions after one year, and Andrew Brisbo says industry stakeholders and regulators are deciding whether to open the market up to non-medical cannabis licensees. This is an effort to address social equity issues and promote the creation of social equity programs.

Despite the low municipal participation rate, Michigan recreational marijuana sales are already rivaling medical cannabis sales – both categories have exceeded $200 million in sales since last December. The Marijuana Business Factbook estimates that Michigan’s recreational marijuana sales will reach $400 million to $475 million in 2020.

Update - March 31, 2020 - Marijuana Businesses Thrive Despite Coronavirus Crisis

Michigan marijuana shops will remain open during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. While Michigan is ordering medical and recreational marijuana retail outlets to close, they are still able to make curbside and home delivery sales.

"In-person transactions within the licensed facility or establishment are prohibited. Additionally, licensees must comply with social distancing requirements for staff within the facilities and establishments."

David Harns - MRA Spokesman

On March 16th, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency committed to expediting requests for marijuana business home delivery authorization. The MRA also said it will temporarily allow medical provisioning centers and recreational retailers to make curbside sales, which wasn’t previously allowed.

Members of the Michigan marijuana industry sent Governor Gretchen Whitmer a letter on March 18, asking that she qualify marijuana as an essential item.

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless said employees are necessary to sustain and protect life, or conduct basic operations. Businesses must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations.

Critical businesses identified in the executive order so far include: child care, health care, law enforcement, public safety, transportation, communication and information technology, manufacturing, hazardous materials, first responders, food and agriculture, energy, public utilities, financial services, and defense.

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, several states in the U.S. have decided to declare cannabis an essential good- the same category as groceries and traditional medications. The majority of Americans seem to agree with these decisions. Fifty-three percent of Americans believe marijuana dispensaries should be considered essential businesses.

But while many states are weed-friendly, the federal government is maintaining its anti-cannabis stance. The United States is excluding marijuana and hemp companies from its $2 trillion economic stimulus bill. Despite the lack of federal support, cannabis companies have continued to thrive in recent weeks. Most stocks are up substantially. Sales have hit record highs amid the novel virus outbreak. Michiganders seem to be stocking up on cannabis in preparation for the stay-at-home order, likely worried about a potential quarantine.

Michigan is smoking more marijuana than any other state during the coronavirus pandemic, one survey says. Quarantine caused by the global outbreak of COVID-19 is forcing people to find ways to entertain themselves. In Michigan, people are stocking up and lighting up.

Michigan legalized adult-use marijuana in November 2018. The market and regulation has continued to develop and evolve ever since. Overall, the southernmost half of the United States has the most marijuana activity and use, with the exception of Michigan, which was the number one state.

While many people are preparing for the current pandemic by stocking up on toilet paper and canned goods, it seems that just as many have been stocking up on cannabis. Marijuana businesses are easily surviving during the currently diminished economy. If you are interested in opening your own marijuana facility during this time, check out our current listings HERE!

We at Bricks + Mortar Group wish you and your loved ones health and happiness during this trying time!

Update - March 6, 2020 - Michigan Phasing Out Caregiver Marijuana in Dispensaries

On Sunday, March 1st, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency began the phase-out process for caregiver products in licensed stores. The phase-out aims to eliminate the transfer of caregiver-sourced marijuana and marijuana products into the regulated market. The process continues until September 30, 2020, by which time, all marijuana transfers from caregivers will be terminated.

The phase-out is sure to affect Michigan’s supply of cannabis. Currently, the cannabis grown by caregivers makes up over 60% of the marijuana in the marketplace. Under previous rules, the caregivers were allowed to supply marijuana flower and infused products to state licensed growers and processors to supply the medical and recreational marketplace. As legal supply is already struggling to keep up with demand, many Michigan residents and business owners are worried the phase-out will lead to a supply shortage and increased prices.

The MRA does not seem to be concerned about a decreased supply of cannabis products.

“Caregiver-produced infused products that are already on the shelves of medical and recreational dispensaries can be sold until the product is gone,” says a spokesman for the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. “Whatever they have on their shelves, they can sell. By the time caregiver flower is phased out, licensed growers should be able to fill the difference.”

Business owners, on the other hand, are worried.

One of the owners of Liv, a medical marijuana dispensary in Ferndale, says, “The first impact is going to be on price. The caregiver product has been much cheaper because it isn’t subject to state mandated regulatory fees and assessments, and doesn’t have the same overhead costs. It’s going to drive up pricing on the distillate oil, which is going to affect the price of vape carts, edibles, and everything else. When the caregiver flower is phased out, that’s going to really hurt.”

The MRA gave notice in December, that beginning on March 1, 2020, growers and processors who obtain marijuana plants, concentrates, vape cartridges, or infused products from caregivers would be subject to disciplinary action.

The idea behind the phase-out is that products like cartridges and concentrates made by caregivers are unregulated. During the ongoing transition to a regulated market, the MRA allowed licensed medical marijuana facilities to accept caregiver products so patients would always have access to necessary medicine. Now that nearly 200 grower licenses and over 25 processor licenses have been issued, the supply of medical marijuana has increased dramatically. Therefore, the MRA will now eliminate the caregiver products to ensure quality and safety for patients

Licensed businesses will have seven months to make the necessary plans to maintain a sufficient supply of medical marijuana in Michigan. During this time, the MRA will work with licensees to provide outreach and assist licensees during the transition. The phase-out process will occur in two steps.

Phase one is now in effect, which mandates licensed stores to stop buying caregiver products, excluding flower. Flower products, which include bud and shake, will still be allowed without fines from the MRA. Phase two will take effect on June 1, 2020. In this phase, the total weight of marijuana flower that processors obtain from caregivers must be less than, or equal to, 50% of the total weight of marijuana flower the licensee obtained from caregivers during phase one. After phase two ends, any licensee who accepts an external transfer will be subject to disciplinary action by the MRA.

PHASE 1: March 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020

Growers & Processors:

During Phase 1, which takes effect March 1, 2020 and ends May 31, 2020, a grower or processor licensed under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) who obtains marijuana flower (defined as bud, shake, and trim only) directly from a caregiver who produced the flower will not be subject to disciplinary action by the MRA under the following circumstances:

-The licensee enters all inventory into the state-wide monitoring system immediately upon receipt, and documents the receipt of caregiver flower as an external transfer.

-The licensee only transfers marijuana flower between MMFLA licensed facilities that has been tested in full compliance with the law.

-The licensee tags or packages all inventory that has been identified in the state-wide monitoring system, and transfers marijuana flower by means of a secured transporter, except where exempted under the MMFLA.

PHASE 2: June 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020

Growers:

During Phase 2, which begins June 1, 2020 and ends September 30, 2020, a grower licensed under the MMFLA who obtains marijuana flower directly from a caregiver who produced the flower will not be subject to disciplinary action by the MRA under the following circumstances:

-The licensee enters all inventory into the state-wide monitoring system immediately upon receipt, and documents the receipt of caregiver flower as an external transfer.

-The licensee only transfers marijuana flower between MMFLA licensed facilities that has been tested in full compliance with the law.

-The licensee tags or packages all inventory that has been identified in the state-wide monitoring system, and transfers marijuana flower by means of a secure transporter, except where exempted under the MMFLA.

-The total weight of marijuana flower a licensee obtains from caregivers is less than, or equal to, the total weight of marijuana flower that the licensee harvested (both wet and dry) between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 plus the projected harvest weight (dry) of all plants that are in the flowering process on May 31, 2020.

Processors:

During Phase 2, a processor licensed under the MMFLA who obtains marijuana flower directly from a caregiver who produced the flower, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the MRA under the following circumstances:

-The licensee enters all inventory into the state-wide monitoring system immediately upon receipt, and documents the receipt of caregiver flower as an external transfer.

-The licensee only transfers marijuana flower between MMFLA licensed facilities that has been tested in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.

-The licensee tags or packages all inventory that has been identified in the state-wide monitoring system, and transfers marijuana flower by means of a secure transporter, except where exempted under the MMFLA.

-The marijuana flower obtained from caregivers is processed and not sold or transferred as marijuana flower.

-The total weight of marijuana flower a licensee obtains from caregivers is less than, or equal to, 50% of the total weight of marijuana flower the licensee obtained from caregivers during Phase 1.

Effective October 1, 2020, any licensee who accepts an external transfer will be subject to disciplinary action by the MRA.

While Provisioning Centers will no longer be permitted to bring in marijuana flower, concentrates, vape cartridges, or infused products from caregivers, licensees must continue to obtain patient consent on a form provided by the MRA prior to selling any marijuana or marijuana products obtained from a caregiver before April 1, 2019, that have not been tested in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.

“We have always put patients first when we make decisions regarding medical marijuana,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “This phase out process is an important next step in implementing the will of Michigan voters and making sure that patients continue to have access to their medicine.”

As caregiver products are phased out, the demand for cannabis from state-licensed facilities will increase greatly. If you are interested in owning a grow facility or outdoor grow, view our marijuana properties for sale HERE!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be used as legal advice. Always check with your attorney and view the current state laws to get up to date information!

Update - Dec 4, 2019 - Michigan Recreational Marijuana Sales Start with a Bang

Hundreds of people waited in line in Ann Arbor on Sunday morning, eager to be one of the first to legally purchase recreational marijuana. Many of the customers even camped out overnight on Saturday to guarantee their spot in line.

Over a year after voters approved a ballot measure allowing it, three recreational marijuana dispensaries, Arbor Wellness, Exclusive Brands and Greenstone Provisions, finally opened in Ann Arbor, at 10:00AM on December 1st.

Consumers are happy to finally be able to purchase adult-use marijuana from a reputable source, knowing it has been tested and state-approved.

“I don’t have to go find someone on the street and worry where it’s from. I’m making connections with knowledgeable people, and not connections with people I may not want to be connected with.”

Annie, 29, of Detroit

People from across several states, including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, were among the first to purchase adult-use cannabis. According to Exclusive Brands, there were consistently long lines of hundreds of people throughout the day. The dispensary was able to serve over 900 customers between 10:00AM and 9:00PM, when they were required to close.

Customers who were not able to be served due to the closing time and long lines were offered a “golden ticket”, allowing them to cut to the front of the line the following day. One of the other dispensaries gave their unserved customers freebies, including pre-rolled joints, as well as discount coupons.

Sales on the first day neared a quarter million dollars according to the Michigan Regulatory Agency (MRA), topping out at $221,000. The State of Michigan forecasts the sale total in the first year will be hundreds of millions of dollars, once more dispensary locations are established.

According to the shops, supply shortage was not an issue on the first day, although Greenline Express, the state’s first transporter licensed to deliver recreational marijuana, made several trips to one dispensary throughout the day. Exclusive Brands owns a processing business in the same building as it’s dispensary, so employees were able to conveniently resupply throughout the day. The dispensaries expect they will be able to continue to keep up with demand in the future.

As of Monday, December 2nd, the MRA says they have licensed seven businesses for retail sale of recreational marijuana. Five of these businesses are located in Ann Arbor, one  in Morenci, and one in Evart. The state expects to license at least a dozen dispensaries by the new year.

Update - November 13, 2018 - Marijuana Is Recreationally Legal In Michigan! Now What?

Last week the cannabis community earned a huge victory in the polls, but what’s next?  If you’re someone who isn’t following this years-long campaign, there must be an endless amount of questions running through your head.  Can I buy recreational marijuana now?  Can I get fired for using marijuana? When is recreational marijuana officially legal?  And so on.

When will Marijuana officially be Legal?

Unfortunately, don’t expect to be able to walk into a dispensary and buy recreational marijuana anytime soon.  The substance will be legal ten days after the election results are certified, which will most likely be some time in December.  After the vote certification, no adult age 21 and over can be arrested for the use or possession of cannabis. Michigan’s timeline for commercially available weed, however, is a bit murky.  LARA must establish regulations for the production and sale of recreational marijuana before issuing recreational licenses.

Can My Employer Still Drug Test?

One of the main aspects of Proposal One’s language states that employers still have full control over the type of marijuana policy they have.  Employers retain the right to drug screen their employees and discipline them as seen fit. Another aspect of the proposition states that landlords have the authority to ban smoking and growing on their properties.

Where Can I get Recreational Marijuana?

Shelly Edgerton, director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), says, “Our licensing and regulatory infrastructure for medical marijuana can be scaled up to incorporate the oversight of adult-use marijuana”.  If you look at Colorado’s timeline, for example, it took a little over a year before marijuana was commercially available. A safe estimate would be for recreational dispensaries to be up and running by January 2020. The good news is anyone over 21 can legally grow up to 12 plants in their home, so access is not completely limited.

How will Recreational Marijuana regulation differ from the already in place Medical Structure?

Since the passing of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in 2008, Michigan boasts a very large and successful medical marijuana market.  This bodes well for recreational marijuana regulation as the state government is already well versed in marijuana policy to some extent.  Colorado’s system provides for an excellent comparison, as their timeline is very similar to Michigan’s, but a few years ahead. In Colorado, Medical dispensaries are allowed to sell to recreational clients, however, the dispensary must be split in half; one side is recreational only, and the other is medicinal only.  Moreover, medical marijuana traditionally has a higher THC content, so it is safe to assume Michigan will place some sort of limit on recreational marijuana potency.

Is there Potential for a Change in the Recreational Legislature?

Proposal one can be amended with a three-fourths vote in the State House of Representatives, just as any other proposal passed by the electorate.  There is speculation that they may try to amend the proposal so that cities are automatically opted out until they draft an ordinance opting in.  Other possible changes include: changing the number of plants an individual can grow at home or raising the 10% recreational marijuana excise tax.

Update - October 23, 2018 - Recreational Marijuana In Michigan – How Will It Look?

There has been a mixed response since last year’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. Over 62% of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized and regulated like alcohol, according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center in Washington. This being said, it may come as a surprise that over 360 Michigan municipalities, in 74 counties, have already opted out completely, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Several cities have opted in to allow recreational facilities, but many are still working on their ordinances, waiting for more clarity and details in the State Law, or delaying their opt-in decision.

Jackson, for example, has passed an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana establishments. Nearly two-thirds of Jackson’s residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana last year, but the city is still on the fence about whether to allow consumption establishments. The city’s main concern is where these “lounges” should be located.

“We want to make sure that, while we’re setting the regulations in place that will allow for establishments, that we’re not being too onerous in terms of where those establishments are located,” says Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies.

The city of Bangor, about 100 miles west of Jackson, has not yet decided to opt in. The City Manager, Regina Hoover, says the city’s official stance is that it’s still waiting for the State of Michigan to establish more rules before deciding. However, since the medical marijuana industry has done so well in Bangor, it is very likely that recreational marijuana businesses will soon be included.

“I believe the city is leaning in a positive direction because we have moved forward with the medical, and that’s worked out very well. The Green Door [Dispensary] brings customers in from a 150 mile radius and that probably would not have happened had a lot of the different areas opted in, so it has been good for their business, definitely.”

Regina Hoover, Bangor City Manager

Hoover says what’s been good for Green Door has been good for Bangor, and there is the potential for even more growth with the possibility of recreational marijuana establishments within the city.

The city of Battle Creek has decided to allow recreational marijuana facilities, but there may be some delay before adult-use establishments begin to pop up. In order to apply for a recreational license on November 1st, a business must already have a state license for medical marijuana. If they do not hold a pre-existing medical marijuana license, they must wait two years before applying. The exception to this rule is an application for either a microbusiness, or a class A grower, which both may be submitted November 1st.

Other cities, including Kalamazoo, have decided to draft a “delayed” opt-in ordinance. Kalamazoo is planning to opt in on June 1st, 2020. This gives the city a chance to “watch and wait,” seeing how recreational facilities affect the municipalities who have already opted in. Monitoring other municipalities, and seeing positive results, gives city council members some comfort and confidence when moving forward and influences the decision to opt in themselves.

Some cities have yet to hold a vote, and are waiting until the November election to decide whether to allow recreational marijuana facilities or not. South Haven, for example, has not made a decision and is awaiting November’s vote to discuss the ordinance.

Now that state-level recreational marijuana laws have been passed, and the MRA license acceptance date is growing closer, many people are wondering when we will begin seeing recreational marijuana facilities open. The first dispensaries are expected to open sometime in 2020, although there may be challenges along the way.

Updated - Sept 13, 2018 - What will recreational marijuana facilities in Michigan look like?

The Michigan cannabis community is growing at an epic pace.  With a similar timeline to Colorado, the country’s first recreational market, it was only a matter of time for Michigan to follow suit.  The signatures have been gathered. The ballot language finalized.  But the question remains: how will recreational marijuana actually work in Michigan?

Despite multiple opinion polls putting the approval rating of the ballot initiative at over 60%, the biggest barrier to its passing is voter awareness.  In an attempt to combat this, we have assembled what will be legal under these new laws, and what will be illegal.

What’s Legal

What’s Illegal

Updated - July 25, 2018 - Michigan Municipalities Facing Lawsuits from Cannabis Community

As the medical marijuana green rush is continuing to spread throughout the state of Michigan, many municipalities are facing lawsuits from various members of the cannabis community. The reasons for these lawsuits vary widely. Many are disgruntled marijuana dispensary operators who were forced to close due to regulatory changes, some are operating under the MMMA caregiver rules trying to enforce their rights, and still others are suing due to unclear permitting and rating systems utilized to chose permit winners. With the industry in constant flux and the State of Michigan marijuana regulations still being written, many municipalities are fearful of making the wrong move and invoking a lawsuit. For example, Harrison Township recently decided to remove the limit of 18 marijuana facilities and accept all applications that were submitted by the deadline, partially due to the potential of getting sued by those applicants who were not chosen.

TROY

For example, the Michigan Marijuana Business Collective represented by Cannabis Legal Group recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Troy, centered around the City’s actions on April 23 regarding the medical marijuana ordinance.

The City of Troy enacted an ordinance with the intention of lowering the number of caregiver cultivation operations from 83 to 36.  Additionally, the ordinance would allow on the spot inspections of marijuana grow houses, which the suit claims is a violation of the fourth amendment.  Another issue with this new ordinance in Troy is that there was no public hearing held regarding the ordinance, which violates the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.

Barton Morris states, “Additionally, the ordinance amounts to an unconstitutional ‘regulatory taking’ and deprivation of property by our clients, which is unlawful.”

LANSING

The City of Lansing was also facing a lawsuit, potentially due to the cap on the number of provisioning centers that the city was allow. The ordinance allowing for medical marijuana facilities to operate within the City of Lansing was passed September of 2017, but it only allowed for 25 provisioning center locations.

In November, 2017, the pro-marijuana group Let Lansing Vote filed a lawsuit against the Lansing City Clerk, Chris Swope, for improperly rejecting a petition that would have forced the City to either repeal the Medical Marijuana Ordinance, or allow the issue to go to a public vote.  Let Lansing Vote felt Lansing’s ordinance was far too restrictive, hence the petition.

The City stated the reasoning behind the denial was two fold: the petition had a large number of invalid signatures (which Let Lansing Vote disputes) and the fear that repealing the ordinance would create a black market spike.

Seemingly without reason, Let Lansing Vote dropped the lawsuit on July 12, 2018.

DETROIT

Yet another major Michigan municipality facing a slew of medical marijuana lawsuits is the City of Detroit. Last year, the Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform brought forth two ballot initiatives that created more lenient regulations for marijuana facilities within Detroit, including decreasing buffer distances to 500 feet and changing the way that permits are awarded. They were voted in during the November election, and quickly challenged by the City of Detroit.

In February of this year, the state forced 161 dispensary locations in the city to shut down after failing to meet the February 15 state licensing application deadline.

While the initial perception was that these medical marijuana businesses were simply ignoring the law and operating illegally, some say that was not the full story.  Attorney Michael Stein is representing many of these businesses and stated, “Detroit has a significant amount of dispensary businesses that should be allowed to stay open because they’re going through the process.”  Many feel that the reason these businesses missed the state application deadline is because they were stuck in the middle of Detroit’s complicated permitting process, the legal battle and red tape, and fluctuating regulations.

Overall it seems that lawsuits among the medical marijuana industry are not uncommon, and it is very safe to assume that more municipalities will face similar issues as the market expands.

Update - May 25, 2018 - What the Future Holds for Michigan Cultivators

The future is looking very bright for the cannabis community here in the great state of Michigan.  It seems as though we are getting closer and closer to the legalization of recreational marijuana, and many are excited about the future.  But what can we expect? Well for those invested in the cultivation side of the industry it might not be all sunshine and rainbows. A recent analysis of markets in states that began as medicinal-only and transitioned into a recreational market, where Michigan is headed, shows a much more difficult journey for cultivators.

The legalization of recreational marijuana in California has had a major impact on the wholesale market of cannabis flower throughout the state.  According to a reputable source, the wholesale price of flower per pound dropped by about 20% over the last year. We see more of the same pattern in the more mature market of Colorado, with the wholesale prices of flower down 23%, compared to last years numbers.  In what are probably the two most mature cultivation markets of Oregon and Washington state, wholesale prices are down a whopping 44% and 46%, respectively. Last year, the wholesale price range per pound of flower in Washington State was between $700 and $2200; it now ranges between $450 and $1600.  Similarly, last year’s prices in Oregon were ranging between $800 and $2800; they now fluctuate between $500 and $1400 per pound of flower (depending on quality).

What is the cause for these extreme market fluctuations on the west side of the country? The short answer is oversupply, especially in the pacific northwest.  With the number of licensed cultivators growing each month in already over-saturated markets, the supply is simply outgrowing the demand for product.

While the data may be very convincing, the market varies drastically between each state, so it is impossible to say how Michigan’s cannabis market will fare through the transition period on the horizon. If recreational marijuana does pass in Michigan, it is safe to expect some sort of rush to market, and supply will increase. That being said, determining the magnitude of how the market will be impacted is near impossible at this stage in the game.

The current market fluctuations out west is giving us a snapshot of our future, and it is looking more and more like a natural selection scenario: the strong outlasting the weak, ultimately swallowing up larger market shares.  Will your business be able to weather the storm? Follow Bricks + Mortar Group as we bring you the latest industry news and the tips and tricks you need to stay one step ahead!