The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation released the long-awaited Application for Licenses under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act. The State will begin accepting applications on December 15, 2017 for all types of licenses, provisioners, cultivators/growers, secured transporters, processing facilities and testing laboratories. The application has been eagerly anticipated by lawyers and applicants for some time, but particularly since the Department released Emergency Administrative Rules earlier this week, setting forth the requirements for what is required for the application process, as well as requirements for marijuana facilities once they begin operating. Now, however, applicants and attorneys who are assisting them, finally have the application and know exactly what the State is requiring.
Application is Substantial and Daunting
The good news is that the application has been released. The bad news for applicants is the size of the application and the amount of information the State is requiring.
The paper application is 45 pages. That does not include the attached business plan, marketing plan, community plan, tax records financial projections, CPA certifications, bank records and more that must be attached and presented to the State.
Further, while the State is not setting a limit on the number of licenses that it will issue, they are not going to issue them indiscriminately.
Applications will need to set themselves apart as to how and why their facility should be licensed rather than another.
Compliance and A Story
The most important thing for any applicant is going to be working with an attorney to thoroughly go through the administrative rules and come up with a compliance plan. The compliance requirements for maintaining a license under the MMFLA are quite substantial, from hiring procedures, document retention and point of sales system access to security and building plan requirements that must be strictly adhered to at all times. Having a compliance plan in place at the time of the application is one of the most important ways that you can help your application succeed, but without legal assistance, you will have a difficult time getting such a plan in place. Licenses have to be renewed every year, and the State is going to be strictly regulating the industry, looking for any non-compliance issues. Applicants and business owners have too much money invested in their businesses to afford to be shut down by the State for non-compliance issues. While a good attorney can fight the State in administrative hearings, there is no guarantee of success, and, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Another way to set your application apart is to have a story. Telling the State how much money you have or how much money you can make is simply not going to be enough. Applicants will need to be able to present a story about why their business benefits the community at large, and also the locale where they are going to be located. There is a stigma attached to any business related to the cannabis industry in general, and being able to present information to the State to show how an applicant’s business can step outside of that stigma and be involved in their community will be a strong push in setting the application to the top. There are a number of strategies that an attorney can provide to you to help craft your application in this regard.
You need a Michigan attorney to assist with this process. The application itself is daunting and requires compliance with an already substantial number of administrative rules and statutes. More importantly, you will need the guidance an attorney can provide with helping set up a compliance plan, security plan, business plan and marketing plan. We have relationships with many businesses to whom we have referred clients who can assist with every step, not only of the application process, but with facilities compliance, marketing, accounting and more. Give us a call today, so we can help set your application apart, ensure that your license is protected with compliance and, if necessary, provide zealous representation in the event of any allegations made by the State that would impact your license.
HERE is a copy of the application. (ZIP file, right click, “save as”)
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