MichigaN Marijuna Dispensary Laws

Michigan Medical Marijuana Dispensary Laws and Licensing Procedures

Updated on June 22, 2019.

In November 2018, Michigan voters approved the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, making the Great Lake State the 10th in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis. Although medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, there was no allowance for dispensaries; however, the new legislation sets up a framework for the licensing and operating of medical marijuana dispensaries, which Michigan refers to as “provisioning centers,” along with adult-use retail stores.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, is tasked with overseeing cannabis business licensing. Currently, LARA is only accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses, but the agency will begin accepting recreational retail license applications by December 6, 2019. For the first 24 months after the department begins accepting recreational cannabis retail license applications, they will only be accepted from those who are currently licensed to sell medical marijuana.

Developments to the state’s regulatory framework and licensing processes are still ongoing. We’ve provided answers to as many questions as possible concerning cannabis retail and dispensary laws in Michigan below, and we will continue to update this page regularly as new details emerge. 

Related resources:

 Oklahoma Dispensary Laws / Washington Dispensary LawsColorado Dispensary Laws / California Dispensary Laws / Missouri Dispensary Laws / Illinois Dispensary Laws / Nevada Dispensary Laws / Montana Dispensary Laws

Michigan Cannabis Laws

An overview of the medical and recreational marijuana laws in Michigan.

Who is able to purchase cannabis in Michigan?

Currently, Michigan residents with a state-approved medical marijuana patient card can purchase cannabis from medical dispensaries, called provisioning centers.

Adult-use cannabis was approved by Michigan voters in November 2018; however, the legal framework for the state’s recreational cannabis program is still being developed, and commercial sales likely won’t begin until early 2020.

What is the process to apply for a medical marijuana patient card?

Michigan residents over the age of 18 can apply for a medical marijuana patient card by following these steps:

  1. Print the Michigan medical marijuana card application form.
  2. Schedule an appointment with a licensed physician to determine whether you have a qualifying condition.
  3. Once your doctor has determined you qualify for medical marijuana and filled out the physician recommendation portion of the application, fill out the rest of the application as instructed. Note that you will need to provide proof of your residency in the state of Michigan as well as a $60 application fee.
  4. Submit your application to the state.

Are there qualifying conditions?

Yes. The list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Michigan includes:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Nail Patella
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Autism
  • Chronic pain
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Any chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition or its treatment that causes cachexia, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms

Is home growing allowed in Michigan?

Yes; medical marijuana patients can cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants at home. Additionally, under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, adults aged 21 and older may cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants at home.

Retail Cannabis Licensing in Michigan

Everything you need to know about opening a retail cannabis location in Michigan.

What state agency is in charge of cannabis licensing in Michigan?

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), which is part of Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA for short.

What is the process for obtaining a medical marijuana dispensary license in Michigan?

In Michigan, medical cannabis dispensaries are called “provisioning centers.” The MRA uses a two-step application process for all marijuana facility licensing; the first step is prequalification, and includes a background check of all applicants associated with the application.

The second step is license qualification, which includes providing more information specific to the physical location and type of license sought — in this case, a provisioning center license.

What costs are associated with applying for a cannabis retail license in Michigan?

There are two fees associated with the provisioning center licensing process. The first is an application fee of $6,000, which must be submitted before the application can be processed.

The second fee is an annual regulatory assessment, which must be paid prior to the license being issued. The amount of the regulatory assessment fee is still being determined by LARA; the agency has stated that the fee will depend on the total number of licenses being issued, and could be as low as $10,000 or as high as $66,000.

What is the process for obtaining an adult-use retail cannabis license in Michigan?

Because the legal framework for Michigan’s adult-use cannabis market is still under development, applications for recreational marijuana retail licenses are not yet being accepted. The legislation states that LARA must begin accepting applications by December 6, 2019.

Under Michigan’s law, LARA will only accept recreational cannabis retail license applications from persons currently holding a medical marijuana provisioning center license. This restriction will remain in effect for the first two years after LARA begins accepting adult-use cannabis facility license applications.

This means that in order to be eligible for an adult-use cannabis retail license in Michigan, you must first obtain a medical marijuana provisioning center license.

Is there a restriction on how many licenses one entity can hold?

The state will not set a limit on the number of licenses issued; however, local municipalities may choose to restrict or limit the type and number of facilities licensed in their jurisdictions.

Michigan Dispensary Laws

Learn how to remain compliant with Michigan’s cannabis retail laws.

Where can a cannabis dispensary be located?

Under state law, cannabis retail establishments cannot be located in areas zoned exclusively for residential use or within 1,000 feet of any school for grades K-12. However, local municipalities may reduce this distance requirement or impose additional location requirements as they see fit. Some municipalities have opted to restrict or prohibit the opening of retail stores. The MRA has more information online regarding specific communities.

Who can Michigan marijuana dispensaries sell to?

Currently, marijuana provisioning centers in Michigan may only sell cannabis to patients holding an active medical marijuana patient identification card.

What can a Michigan dispensary sell?

Provisioning centers in Michigan may sell cannabis and cannabis products including flower, concentrates, edibles, infused products, seeds, and clones.

What are the purchase and possession limits for Michigan adult-use cannabis retail customers?

Adults aged 21 and up may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent product away from home, and up to 10 ounces within their home. Adults may possess up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrate at any given time.

What are the purchase and possession limits for medical marijuana patients?

Medical marijuana patients in Michigan may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent product daily. The monthly purchasing limit for patients is 10 ounces of cannabis or equivalent product.

What taxes are collected on retail cannabis in Michigan?

Medical cannabis sales in Michigan are subject to the standard state sales tax of six percent, plus an additional three percent excise tax. Recreational cannabis will be subject to a 10 percent excise tax on top of the standard sales tax.

Can medical marijuana and recreational cannabis be sold in the same dispensary?

Yes, a marijuana establishment in Michigan can sell both medical marijuana and adult-use recreational cannabis, provided those products are physically separated in the store. A dispensary will also have to follow all distinct regulations regarding the sale of each of those products, which includes different labeling, tax rates, customer verification procedures, etc.

Is delivery allowed and what are the restrictions on where medical marijuana can be delivered?

A provisioning center may offer home delivery once the facility's delivery procedures have been provided to and approved by the MRA. Orders must be received through a secure website that authenticates access by a registered qualifying patient. Medical marijuana can be delivered to the home of any registered qualifying patient, even if the patient's jurisdiction does not allow dispensaries. 

Is consumption of marijuana allowed in Michigan dispensaries?

A marijuana establishment can apply for a license as a designated consumption site. Only dispensaries with a designated consumption site license can have smoking lounges or otherwise allow consumption of marijuana products on-site.  These establishments may not serve food or alcohol. 

Cannabis Tracking and Reporting in Michigan

Every regulated cannabis market has its own tracking and reporting requirements. Find out how Michigan will monitor commercial cannabis activity here.

What are the tracking and reporting requirements for Michigan cannabis retailers?

Michigan’s Marijuana Tracking Act requires the establishment of a statewide monitoring system that can integrate with third-party inventory control and tracking systems such as Cova’s Cannabis Dispensary POS Software in order to allow:

  • Verification of age and validity of medical marijuana patient card
  • Retention of a record of the date, time, quantity, and price of each sale or transfer of cannabis
  • Determination of whether a particular sale or transfer will exceed the permissible limit

What is the official state cannabis monitoring system?

Michigan has chosen Metrc as its official statewide marijuana monitoring system.

Is Cova compliant with Michigan’s cannabis retail reporting requirements?

Yes. Cova’s dispensary POS and inventory management system includes all the features needed to keep cannabis retailers compliant, including:

  • ID scanner for age and patient card verification
  • Integrated inventory and sales tracking and reporting
  • Built-in product equivalency conversions and purchase limit enforcement



Is Cova an authorized 3rd-party integrator with Metrc?

Yes, Cova is an authorized 3rd-party POS integrated with Metrc in Michigan.

Cannabis Advertising & Marketing Laws

What restrictions are there regarding cannabis advertising?

There are specific restrictions depending on the advertising medium that we will address below, but overall there are some common restrictions across the board.
 

First, no advertisements for anything cannabis-related can be attractive to minors (no cartoon characters or public figures appealing to a younger age group) or promote underage or out-of-state consumption. Second, no product can claim any therapeutic or curative effects. Lastly, any cannabis advertisement must include the following government warnings:

  • "This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming.";

  • "Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.";

  • "There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product."; and

  • "For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children.”

What kind of signage are dispensaries allowed to have?

Each licensed retail location can have two signs at their location with their business name or trade name. These signs cannot be larger than 1,600 square feet (measured from the outer frame). No signs can be on the road pointing in the direction of the dispensary, they can only be affixed or hanging from the building or windows of the actual storefront.

What can the signs include on them?

The signs can include the business name, location and identify the nature of the business. It cannot have any photos or depictions of cannabis and it cannot be appealing to minors.

Are cannabis advertisements on billboards allowed?

A cannabis dispensary can advertise on billboards with some restrictions. First, the billboard can only contain the same information as signage on the storefront (i.e., name of business, address and nature of business). It cannot contain any photos or depictions of the cannabis plant (this includes any logo with a cannabis leaf) or appeal to minors. No matter the design, the billboard must say that cannabis can only be purchased and possessed by adults over 21 years old.

Are dispensaries allowed to host giveaways or coupons?

No, dispensaries cannot give away any product or coupons. They can, however, encourage customers to sign up for an email or text list and offer specials that way.

Can a dispensary sell branded merchandise?

No, a dispensary is only allowed to sell legal cannabis products and paraphernalia. But branded merchandise for a dispensary can be sold on their website or through a separate entity.

 

Can a dispensary advertise in print media?

Yes, a dispensary is allowed to advertise in print publications, but with a few restrictions. The publication cannot target or distribute to an audience out of state or underage. And the content of the advertisement must follow the same rules as billboards and signage (no cannabis depictions or photos, cartoon characters or anything appealing to minors and must include government warnings). Local jurisdictions are able to establish additional advertising rules, so always check for relevant local laws.

What is allowed in terms of online advertising?

A retail cannabis business can have a website, but it cannot appeal to or solicit anyone under the age of 21. You can sell branded non-cannabis merchandise on your website, but all cannabis products must be purchased in store.

Can a dispensary host, attend or sponsor events?

Yes, a dispensary can host or sponsor an event, but only if attendees are over 21 years old. They cannot have product on hand, neither as a free gift or sold.

Where can I find more information about cannabis advertising laws in Washington?

Rules and regulations regarding advertising for Washington cannabis companies are constantly changing. You can view the WSLCB’s Q&A on advertising here.

POINT OF SALE

You definitely need a cannabis-specific POS at your dispensary. Find the most frequently asked tech questions here.

How do I manage state compliance using my point-of-sale?

Cova POS software provides complete seed-to-sale tracking functionality and has a number of built-in features designed to help you automatically comply with the legal regulations in your state/province. For example, the Cova POS system automatically monitors:

  • Purchase Limits – The POS system automatically calculates the correct THC amounts for all products, including concentrates and edibles. By relieving your staff of this complex task, the POS prevents mistakes in calculation and allows your budtenders to focus on customer service—and not on mathematical conversions. The system also enforces purchase limits by alerting staff when a limit has been reached and preventing budtenders from executing a sale that would place you over the legal limit.
  • Hours of Operation – The system can be easily configured to comply with local laws. Once the operational hours are set up, the POS will not allow sales to be executed outside the legal hours of operation, preventing potential violations before they occur.
  • Customer Identification Requirements – Customer IDs are easily scanned and recorded, ensuring your staff double checks IDs and virtually eliminating potential sales to minors or other individuals lacking the requisite documentation.
  • Accurate Real-Time Reporting – Operational visibility is also very important for your team. Cova POS software generates management reports in real time. These reports can be easily distributed across the organization to ensure the correct data is in the hands of the correct personnel.
  • Fully Compliant Product Labelling & Receipts Cova Software enables the complete customization of all printed materials, product labels, and receipts, enabling you to comply with all local regulations related to labeling and packaging quickly and easily.



What happens if my internet connection goes down and my dispensary is slammed with customers?

To ensure that you always maintain an expedient transaction pace and keep lines moving, Cova comes with a built-in offline sales processing mode that enables continuous access to critical functions even when your Wi-Fi or internet connection is unavailable. Once connectivity is restored, all transactions performed in offline mode are synchronized with the state’s reporting system, data is backed up, and reports and inventory records are adjusted accordingly.

How do I make sure I submit timely and accurate taxes each month to the government?

By choosing a POS system with built-in tax reporting functionality, you’ll always know exactly how much tax you need to pay.



Why is it important to have a marijuana-specific POS vs. a retail or pharmacy POS?

There are several reasons why a cannabis-specific POS is ideal for your operation—but the most important one is compliance management. Because traditional retail operations and pharmacies don’t have the same government-mandated compliance requirements, their POS systems aren’t built to manage the complexities involved with track and trace reporting and the other aspects of state compliance.

What happens if the state regulations change? How does Cova stay on top of this?

With the industry still in its infancy, regulations are bound to change. At Cova, our team keeps up with industry-wide and state-specific changes so that our developers can quickly made necessary software updates—and so you never have to worry about remaining compliant with the latest regulations.

Is Cova integrated with Metrc?

Currently, Metrc is not yet live in California since the state's regulations have not yet been officially adopted. However, Cova is working closely with Metrc and has already begun the process of integration, and we plan to be ready when the system goes live.



I have a high-traffic store. Can Cova support me and handle my volume?

Absolutely! Cova software is built on technology that has the ability to dynamically scale with your needs. Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Platform, Azure, automatically detects instances of heavy traffic (such as sales on 4/20) and assigns further servers and computing power as necessary to compensate—allowing you to process sales without interruption, even during the busiest retail periods.



Do I have to follow CA compliance even if it is not in effect? Will the POS still process sales?

Although technically you are not mandated to comply with the new law and regulations until July, it’s a good idea to implement a compliant POS now so you don’t have to switch later.

How do I do the 14-day inventory reconciliation?

With Cova, you can easily stay compliant with California’s inventory reconciliation requirement by printing the Inventory-on-hand report and checking it against your physical inventory. You can make any necessary adjustments directly into the POS, which will then sync the data across your network.

Ron Segev

Cannabis Business Lawyer & Founding Partner, Segev LLP

Legally reviewed by

Ron Segev

Ron Segev is the founding partner of Segev LLP. A practical-minded business lawyer with expertise in the cannabis industry, he represents cultivators, dispensaries, CBD extractors, oil extractors, food processors, media and marketing companies, consultancies, and other businesses in the legal cannabis market. 

View Ron's full bio

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