Michigan Approves First MMFLA Licenses
Late last week, four medical marijuana businesses became the first in the state to be granted operating licenses. These firms, including a provisioning center and processor in Ann Arbor, will work closely with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in coming months to fulfill several requirements before officially obtaining the license. This includes a $48,000 regulatory assessment and the testing of all products by a state-approved facility, a facility type which the board has yet to approve a license for.
After clearing these requirements businesses will still need to renew their license annually and are subject to inspections by state agencies.
This marks a slow start to the approval process partly because less than 40% of the businesses who met the February deadline has submitted their step two application. State agencies are not allowed to conduct site visits or review applications until this is completed by the business owner. The bureau is also inundated with applications they must ensure meet benchmarks set by the 2016 law such as “high moral character,” verified by criminal background checks and other processes.
Of the nearly 600 pre-qualified applications filed since December, less than 7% have been approved. 14 applications have been denied by the board, with half having filed appeals.
This information comes after the City Council of Ann Arbor voted to put a pause on new applications in mid-April over concerns of cannabusiness proximity to other dispensaries. Also after the 40 medical marijuana businesses across the state received an unwelcome visit from state officials in March, other businesses received cease and desist letters. The process of licensing and approvals seems difficult to navigate for state and local governments in Michigan.
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