Opening a Marijuana Dispensary in Michigan

In November of 2018 Michigan legalized recreational marijuana for the first time. While medicinal marijuana laws had been in place for a few years already, this would open up the state to the adult use marijuana market.

With dispensaries now becoming legal, many entrepreneurs and growers are looking to open a retail shop for the first time or to turn legit for the first time. Either way many people are chomping at the bit to open their ow dispensaries.

But what are the laws and regulations for opening a dispensary in Michigan? It is similar to Vermont in that the sale of marijuana is prohibited unless it’s medicinal.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about opening a marijuana dispensary in Michigan.

Choosing a Location

The very first step to opening a marijuana dispensary in Michigan is to decide on a location. While it may seem like you should get the permits and licenses first, you’ll only run into snags and delays.

The reason for this is because the state requires all dispensaries to request permission from the municipality in which it wishes to operate. For example, for a Lansing dispensary, the owner will have to ask permission from the city of Lansing.

It should also be noted that the state allows individual municipalities the right to restrict the number of dispensaries within their town or city limits. This is one of the reasons for requesting permission first. And why you should choose a location first.

It saves the state and you time that could be well spent choosing a different location instead of waiting to be told no.

Preparing to Request a State License

After you’ve chosen a location (Lansing for example) and have gained permission from the town of Lansing for your Lansing dispensary it is time to request a license from the state. This is where the real fun begins so to speak.

Your request for a license will be reviewed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). When it comes to submitting an application the more thorough, detailed, and well organized your paperwork is the better chance you have for approval.

Every stereotype of governmental bureaucracy is perfectly acceptable when conjuring images of this process. Forget to dot an ‘i’ and your application might get denied. Luckily, it’s not all gloom and doom.

The first step to preparing to apply for a license is to have a business plan. After all you will be running a business. Having a business plan will ensure not only the success of your company, but also will help to appeal to LARA.

Your business plan should be thorough, in depth, and contain a marketing strategy, growth strategy, financial strategy, and expansion strategy. However, on top of having everything a normal business would need, there are additional documentation for a dispensary.

Additional Documentation

The best chance for being approved for a license is to supply LARA with at least one year’s worth of records which should include:

  • Employment training manuals
  • Security Alarm and Breach Reports
  • HIPPA Compliant and Secure Patient Sales Records
  • Restricted Access Compliance Manifest

These are all to show compliance with the laws and regulations for operating a dispensary within the state of Michigan.

For example, in the state of Michigan all sales, cultivation, and processing of marijuana must be kept hidden from the view of the public. Likewise, any facility where marijuana is processed, sold, or cultivated needs to have the capable to be secured against those under 21 having access.

Retailers are also responsible for sealing their product in containers that are designed to be unopened by a child under the age of 5. Documentation showing compliance with all of this for a year or more will help to show LARA how serious you are about the law and the business. They will likely approve your request.

You Chase That Dream High

No matter where you choose to locate your dispensary make sure you read each municipality’s ordinances and obtain permission from them. After that you’ll of course need to obtain a license from the state.

While all of this may seem daunting and lengthy don’t let that deter you. After all, while it may seem like they aren’t making it easy (ya know because they’re not) it’s still better than being on the wrong side of these laws. Besides you shouldn’t let anyone stop you from chasing your dream high…..as far as it will go.

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