Michigan: Medical Marijuana Business Application Info Released By LARA

michigan cannabis marijuana

Just days ahead of her appearance at the MICBD Conference in Ann Arbor, the Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has authorized the release of new information regarding the process of applying to become a medical marijuana business under Michigan’s new MMFLA licensing system.

The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) is a program run by the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR), a subdivision of LARA, and will begin accepting applications on December 15. Applications are being taken for five named and regulated business types: cultivation, processing, transport, testing and distribution.

Today’s press release outlines a method where the people applying for the business (applicant) can be pre-approved even if the location they want to operate a business in is not yet approved by local authorities. From today’s press release:

“This two-step process will allow applicants to begin the application process by completing step one before a location for the medical marihuana facility is established. If applicants have a location secured, they will have the option of submitting step one and step two materials at the same time.”

Director of LARA, Shelly Edgerton, will speak Sunday October 15 at the Kensington Hotel on the MMFLA’s rollout, the multiple press releases issued by LARA and the BMMR recently, and the future of existing unregulated medical marijuana businesses in Michigan. The Director will do a Q&A session with attendees and will surely be asked to explain this memorandum. There is a charge to attend; more information on that event is available HERE.

The memo issued October 12 defines how the application process will take place. A two-step process is outlined by LARA:

Step 1 is Pre-qualification of the applicants including “a full background investigation of themselves and their affiliates.” This includes background information, their financial history, fingerprints and criminal background checks; business litigation history; and regulatory compliance history.

From the release:

Pre-qualification will also require the following information, at a minimum:

  • Name and contact information for person completing the application and the individual or entity seeking licensure.
  • Name, contact information, and percentage of interest for persons or businesses with an interest in the applicant.
  • Supporting documentation demonstrating the applicant’s business status, financial position, regulatory compliance, criminal history information, and taxation history. This includes, but is not limited to: company bylaws, business registration documents, prior or existing regulatory licenses, W2s, and financial institution statements.
  • Signed and notarized attestation statements affirming full disclosure and consenting to the BMMR background investigation process.

Step 2 is License Qualification. Also from the release, this is a list of the minimum requirements this step can hold:

  • License type sought
  • Municipality approval and copy of the municipality’s authorizing ordinance.
  • Technology, staffing, marketing, inventory, security and recordkeeping plans.
  • Depictions of the marihuana facility floor plans and layout of facility premises.
  • Proof of insurance, bond, or securities for the facility.

The bulletin states that applications will be accepted either on paper or electronically.

Left undefined is the term “regulatory compliance,” which may make many current medical marijuana businesspersons uneasy. The MMFLA’s Licensing Board has attempted in several ways to disadvantage the operators of current businesses in Michigan’s unregulated patient services industry, including: a proposed mandatory shutdown of all facilities on September 15th, an issue raised at the first Licensing Board hearing; a potential impediment to a current operator’s application status for the MMFLA program, as outlined in a LARA memo; and a personal standard of discrimination against current operators, as clearly articulated by one or more members of the Licensing Board on multiple occasions.

The term regulatory compliance may reference a vehicle through which the Board can exercise this disadvantage to those businesspersons who serviced the 250,000+ registered medical marijuana patients enrolled in Michigan’s system.

“That issue is sure to be discussed at the MICBD Conference,” said Jamie Lowell of the MILegalize organization and the Michigan Marijuana Law Experts. “Director Edgerton was very open and candid during her previous appearance at the MICBD Conference in Detroit. She takes all questions head-on.”

Also appearing at the Conference at noon: Ann Arbor House Representative Yousef Rabhi. Rep. Rabhi introduced HB 5014 recently, a bill which would protect those existing businesses from shutdown or discrimination in the licensing process. The bill has two corresponding bills in the Michigan Senate; one is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Knezek and the other is sponsored by Republican Sen. Rick Jones.

Yes, that Rick Jones.

Rep. Rabhi will certainly be asked why Sen. Jones is on this bill’s team, considering the Senator’s long history of anti-marijuana legislation and anti-patient statements throughout his career in the legislature.

“We hear these bills have traction in the Senate, but that it will be more difficult to get approval in the House,” Lowell shared.

Read the press release at the LARA website HERE.

Find out more information about the Conference, with Director Edgerton and Rep. Rabhi, by clicking HERE.

Source: The Social Revolution

Rick Thompson
About Rick Thompson 50 Articles
Current member of the Boards of Directors of: Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MILegalize), Michigan NORML; founding member, Michigan ASA, Public Relations Director, Michigan Association of Compassion Centers (defunct)