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Aug 7, 2021

What to Know About Getting a Michigan Cultivation License


Types of Michigan Cultivation Licenses

Michigan has been a medical marijuana state since 2008. Even though it’s in the midwest, where winters can be rough, the state offers cultivators the ability to grow outdoors, in greenhouses, or indoors in controlled environments. In 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis, and the market has been growing rapidly since retail sales began in December of 2019. 

Medical vs Recreational Marijuana

In Michigan, the medical and recreational cannabis systems are almost completely separate. Medical marijuana is grown at a medical cannabis licensed facility, processed and sold at medical licensed facilities. Medical cannabis in Michigan is regulated by the MMMA and MMFLA.

Recreational marijuana is regulated by a separate system. These two systems only cross paths when medical and recreational cannabis are both sold at provisioning centers, or retail locations. Recreational marijuana in Michigan is regulated by MRTMA. Recreational cannabis is subject to a wider range of lab results when compared to medical cannabis.

michigan cultivation license

3 Classes of Cultivation Licenses in Michigan

As reviewed above, there are 2 types of cultivation licenses in Michigan: medical marijuana licenses and recreational licenses. Under each type are 3 separate grower classes: A, B and C, with an increasing quantity of permissible plants. (For information on industrial hemp license applications and regulations, please visit MDARD.)

Medical marijuana classes: A (500 plants), B (1000 plants), and C (1500 plants) 

Recreational marijuana classes: A (100 plants), B (500 plants), and C (2000 plants) 

A grower license in Michigan entitles the marijuana business to sell its products to a provisioning center or processor.

In addition, the recreational marijuana program allows cannabis growers to opt for a microbusiness license. This license type lets cannabis business owners cultivate, process, and sell medical marijuana or recreational marijuana products completely in-house at their facility. The plant limit for a microbusiness license grower is 150 plants and the licensee can’t transfer any of the cannabis to other marijuana businesses.

Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Process

The agency in charge of Michigan’s cannabis cultivation licensing is LARA (Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs). The application process for Michigan grower applicants consists of two stages: pre-qualification and establishment.

Applying for a Michigan Cultivation License: Pre-qualification

The pre-qualification stage is mostly about performing background checks on the main grower applicant and associated applicants with ownership interest in the marijuana business.

Applicants are also evaluated for financial standing and to confirm funds necessary to startup the marijuana business.

Applying for a Michigan Cultivation License: Establishment

The second stage is where the meat of the application lies. A detailed marijuana business plan communicates to the municipality and the state all details of the medical marijuana operation, including safety and security plans. 

Before the final licensing application can be submitted to Michigan’s licensing department, a number of important activities must be completed. The marijuana facility must be purchased or have a lease in hand. Approval from the local municipality must be obtained. And the most expensive and time-consuming of all, the buildout of the building or farm must be completed.

Within 60 days of submitting the grower license application, a government inspection will take place. In addition, the marijuana business must pass the Bureau of Fire Services plan review. The completion of these inspections and your facility readiness will trigger the licensure fee demand. Once paid, the commercial cannabis grower receives their license and can begin operations.

In March 2021, MRA announced that they are opening up the recreational marijuana licensing process to a wider pool of grower applicants. Previously MRA only allowed applicants who first held an MMFLA license. This change alone will have a big impact on expanding the Michigan recreational marijuana industry in the coming years.

MMFLA license

Regulations to be Mindful of As Michigan Cultivation License Holder

State regulations, bulletins, and official announcements are always going to be the most up to date guidelines. Visit our Metrc Michigan page for a list of resources, websites and contact info all in one place.

A few notable regulations to be mindful of when pursuing a cultivation license:

  • Cultivation license applicants cannot have a safety compliance facility or be a secure transporter
  • Main grower applicant must wait to submit application fee until all supplemental applications have been submitted
  • Depending on the Class of cultivation license, medical marijuana applicants must prove they have $150-$500k in assets per license they wish to hold
  • You may not transfer or sell a cultivation license without Agency approval. Doing so may result in suspension, revocation, or sanction.

Fees Associated with a Commercial Cultivation License in Michigan

Application fees are due on a local level as well as on the state level. Marijuana business application fees are $6,000 to the state and up to $5,000 to the local municipality. 

Regulatory Assessment Fees:

There are additional fees for something called a regulatory assessment, which can vary depending on the grower license type. The amount is determined annually. In the recreational marijuana market, these fees can range from $1,000 to $40,000. 

The fees are lower in 2021 as more licenses have been issued. The costs to the state are now spread amongst many, rather than few.

fees for assessment

Seed-to-Sale Tracking System

Michigan legalized medical-use cannabis in 2008 with the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. Ten years later, they passed recreational marijuana legislation through the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act in 2018. (Michigan adopted this spelling of marijuana back in 1913 when it was chosen for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.)

Metrc won the medical marijuana tracking software contract in 2017. In August 2018, Metrc began operating and working with licensed cannabis businesses in the state. Then with Michigan’s passing of adult-use legislation, Metrc Michigan began supporting the additional group of cannabis licenses in December 2019. 

Metrc is a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system that tracks every movement of plants and marijuana products by using serialized tags to enter data into the centralized system.

Third Party Software Integration

Trym is a validated third-party software provider for Metrc in Michigan. Trym offers cultivators a robust platform to not only track their cannabis plants and packages but also manage their team and entire operation. Our flexible environmental sensor integrations and crop steering capabilities empower cultivators to optimize their business for higher yields and profitability.

schedule a grow software demo

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