Michigan issues rules before start of marijuana licensing
LANSING — Governor Rick Snyder issued rules yesterday for policing medical marijuana businesses, less than two weeks before the state begins accepting license applications under a new regulatory system.
The emergency rules will remain in effect for at least six months until permanent ones are finalized. They regulate varied topics including advertising, security requirements and how much capital businesses must have to get into growing, processing, selling, transporting or testing marijuana.
The state had previously given guidance on major issues such as the status of existing dispensary shops that have been operating under a legal cloud, ultimately deciding they can stay open while seeking a state license if they have had the approval of their local community. Applications will be accepted starting Dec. 15.
"We needed to add a little meat to the bone on some of those things but tried to stay consistent with what was there," Andrew Brisbo, director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, said of the advisory bulletins issued in recent months.
Under the 51 rules, licensees will need to demonstrate capitalization ranging from $150,000 to $500,000, depending on the type of business. At least 25 percent of the capital must be in liquid assets, such as cash, marijuana inventory or investments. No more than 15 ounces of usable marijuana or 72 plants may be used to meet capital requirements.
It will cost $6,000 to apply for a license. Licensees and applicants must notify the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the state police and local law enforcement within 24 hours of any theft or loss of product.
People who violate the rules can be fined $5,000. Businesses can face a $10,000 fine or an amount equaling daily gross receipts, whichever is greater.
Growers, processors and provisioning centers can operate out of the same location if it is OK with the municipality and if they have "distinct and identifiable areas" and separate entrances and exits. Visitor logs must be kept, and video surveillance is required inside the businesses.
The advertising of marijuana products is prohibited if it is visible to the public from any street, sidewalk, park or other public place.
The five-tiered licensing system is being developed under a 2016 law that more tightly regulated medical marijuana and aimed to address confusion surrounding a 2008 voter-approved law that legalized marijuana for medical use. The new law imposes a 3 percent tax on provisioning centers.
Roughly 265,000 patients have registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 42,000 registered caregivers who can supply a limited number of people.