10 Things You Need To Know Before Opening A Marihuana Provisioning Center

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You might be thinking about opening a marihuana provisioning center in Michigan. Now, after the passage of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act or the MMFLA (M.C.L. 333.27401 et seq.) that is possible, however only if you acquire municipal approval and a State issued operations license. “Provisioning Center” is the legally permissible term under Michigan’s Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, for what was previously referred to colloquially as a “dispensary.” The current regulations no longer allow such businesses to be referred to legally as “dispensaries” and the State requires that they be referred to as marihuana provisioning centers. A provisioning center is generally a company where qualifying patients under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act or the MMMA (M.C.L. 333.26421 et seq.) can come to buy medical marihuana for medical usage. While a provisioning center can be a rewarding endeavor, there are a few things you to know before you move forward.

Can You Transport Cannabis In A Private Automobile?

Presently, under Michigan law, the general guideline is that possession and transport of marihuana in a car is forbidden by law, and subjects you to criminal charges. Only registered qualifying patients and registered caregivers under the MMMA may transport marihuana in a automobile. Even then, they must do so in strict compliance with the MMMA. Marijuana may only transported in a locked, closed container in the trunk of a vehicle, where it can not be accessed by the driver or individuals in the passenger compartment. You may also not have more than 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, per registered qualifying patient. Caregivers may transport usable marihuana for up to five patients (and themselves as well if the caregiver is also a qualifying patient) or up to 12 plants per patient (again, including plants for the caregiver, if they are also a qualifying patient). Under the MMFLA, nevertheless, provisioning centers that are licensed by the State and their local municipality, must only accept marihuana into their facility that is brought by a MMFLA State Licensed Secured Transporter, or, if they have a grow or processing center co-located ( connected to or on the same property) and transport of the marihuana will not take place on a public roadway, it can be moved as set forth by LARA, BMMR under the Administrative rules.

Just How Much Marijuana Can You Provide?

A licensed provisioning center under the MMFLA may not sell more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana per day to a registered qualifying patient. A provisioning center that is licensed may likewise sell to a registered primary caregiver, but not more than 2.5 ounces per qualifying patient attached to the caregiver’s license. If you are licensed by the State to run a provisioning center, you will have to utilize a point of sale system that has software that is complaint with the Statewide Monitoring Database, which uses a software program called METRC. The State allows using twenty-four (24) software programs that are METRC compliant. Every consumer who goes into a provisioning center, you will have to use a point of sale system that has software that is compliant. Every consumer who goes into a provisioning center has to have their card run through the Statewide Monitoring Database to make sure that they have not already been supplied their maximum daily quantity of 2.5 ounces from another licensed provisioning center. A provisioning center should likewise update the qualifying patient’s profile on the Statewide Monitoring Database after sale, so that the Database will show how much medical marihuana was acquired by the patient at your provisioning center.

What License Do You Need?

You need a full license given by the state to operate as a Michigan provisioning center. If you are growing cannabis, you will also require to ensure that you get a Michigan commercial grow license application. You might want to speak to an MMFLA legal representative, such as Fowler & Williams, PLC, about this to ensure that you are fully licensed, or you will be shut down. Most importantly, DO NOT begin operating your provisioning center without a State license being issued to you under the MMFLA. While the process of getting a license is complex and needs a considerable quantity of time and money, the success of these provisioning centers far exceeds the cost of acquiring one. If you can get approved for a license and make it through the application procedure to obtain a provisioning center license, you ought to do so before you start running.

Can You Get More Than One License?

Yes, you can apply and qualify for more than one license. This is useful for any business or person who wants to establish a provisioning center and a grow or processor at the exact same time. According to the law, there is nothing stopping you from doing this. Further, you can acquire multiple provisioning center licenses so that you can run multiple provisioning centers in different cities. The licenses do not attach to the individual or the business that is applying, enabling you to use it anywhere you want. Rather, the licenses connect to the property you provide on your application for the business. Therefore, if you wish to open numerous provisioning centers, you will need to submit numerous State applications. If you prefer to acquire various types of licenses (say a grow or processor license) in addition to a provisioning center, you can co-locate them at one facility, however you need to submit separate applications for each license type, and must fulfill the minimum financial and background requirements individually for each license type.

Just How Much Will A License Cost?

The cost for the license application to the State is $6,000.00 per application, regardless of license type applied for, including for a provisioning center. There are also municipal application fees, which can be up to $5,000.00 per application. Each municipality is different, and they can charge different fees, and they can vary the fees depending on which type of license you apply for. Normally, however, they charge the maximum enabled, which is $5,000.00 per license application. Even more, after you receive a State license, there are regulatory assessments that have to be paid yearly, both after issuance and each year after when the license is renewed.

In 2018, the assessments vary.

Secured Transporters and Safety Compliance Facilities (testing labs) have no assessment ($ 0.00).

Class A Growers have a $10,000.00 regulatory assessment.

Class B and Class C Growers, Provisioning Centers and Processors have a $48,000.00 regulatory assessment.

The State has actually stated that starting in 2019 there will be a standardized regulatory assessment that will apply to all license holders, despite the kind of license provided. For now, nevertheless, the assessments will stay as noted above. You will likewise find that there are other professional fees that you will need to pay in order to make sure that your application is complete, and that your business plan, with all of its essential parts, is up to par with the State’s application requests. Those expenses can differ considerably, and are hard to predict.

Needless to say, the application and licensing process is an expensive undertaking, however in a market that is slated to do about $891,000,000.00 in annual sales this year, up from about $741,000,000.00 in 2017, the roi could be considerable.

Should You Have A Lawyer?

While not mandatory, you should certainly make sure that you are obtaining suggestions from an MMFLA lawyer before you consider opening a Michigan provisioning center. It  is essential that you get the very best possible legal advice and that you are following all the regulations and requirements. Only an attorney experienced in dealing with cases under the MMMA and licensing work under the MMFLA, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can guarantee that you have all the tools and guidance that you need to give your application the best chance at success. Failure to make sure that your application is complete, and that it offers support for your ability to presently comply and ensure future compliance with the Administrative rules, your application is far more likely to be rejected or denied, and your dream of opening a provisioning center brought to an unceremonious ending.

Just How Much Will This Business Cost?

You can anticipate the total start-up expenses for this kind of service to be anywhere between 400 and 500K, at a minimum. While the State needs a minimum capitalization requirement of $300,000.00 (one quarter of which must be liquid funds), that will not be sufficient, realistically, to start the business. You will need to potentially acquire land or property in an opted-in municipality. (Here is an up to date list of Michigan Municipalities currently opted-in to MMFLA) There will be obligatory fees, costs, and professional services that you need to get to guarantee that your application is precise and total, and to ensure that you are presently in compliance with all laws and policies, in addition to ensuring future compliance. This includes everything from licensing to a complete team of workers and much more. It’s certainly not cheap, and you need to be prepared for a heavy investment. Nevertheless, as noted above, the marketplace is large, and continuing to grow.

Can You Go Mobile?

No, you can not run a mobile provisioning center as it is currently unlawful to run one in the state of Michigan. However, this might change, and that’s why it  is very important to speak to a medical marihuana attorney regularly, so that you are keeping up to date with modifications to the law. Cannabis law is an evolving and altering field, and as a result, there might come a time where the MMFLA or the MMMA is amended to permit a mobile provisioning center.

What Are You Lawfully Able To Do?

As a provisioning center, your sole function is to provide safe medical marihuana to registered qualifying patients. You might only offer marihuana or marihuana infused items that were grown by a MMFLA licensed grower or processed by a MMFLA licensed processor and the products have actually been tested by a MMFLA licensed safety compliance facility with appropriate labeling and tracking. You may not offer these products prior to your acquiring a license, unless you were running with city approval prior to February 15, 2018 and you have actually already sent an application to the State seeking a license.

Soon a modification in law will likely enable recreational marijuana sales. If the ballot initiative passes, for the first two years after the State passes recreational cannabis facility policies and begins accepting licensing applications, only facilities licensed by the MMFLA to offer, grow, process, transport or test medical marihuana will be legally permitted to look for recreational marihuana licenses for the same activity. Therefore, acquiring a provisioning center license under the MMFLA, provides you the chance to get in the recreational market, where others will not.

What Are The Requirements?

In order to request a provisioning center license, you need to make sure that you do not have a disqualifying criminal conviction, and that you satisfy the minimum capitalization requirements, which as noted earlier are $300,000.00 with 25% liquid capital. You will likewise need to obtain an properly zoned building in a city or township that has “opted-in” to the MMFLA to permit such centers to operate within their borders. Whether your own it or rent it does not matter, but you need to have the structure. After that, you will need to produce a business plan that contains all of the required elements from the state, consisting of a security plan, facility plan, marketing plan, staffing plan, technology plan, recordkeeping plan, waste disposal plan, and more, showing that you will abide by the State’s regulations now and in the future.


We hope this provides you with some of the information you need before opening a Michigan provisioning center. Needless to say, the procedure is expensive, complicated and time consuming, but the reward and ROI can be significant. In reality, obtaining a proficient MMFLA and MMMA lawyer, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can help streamline and simplify the application process, and take most of the work off your plate.

If you want info, or wish to come in and speak about getting a provisioning center license, we would love to have you come in for a consultation.


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