medical marijuana

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Hundreds Gather Seeking Info On Medical Pot Shop Regulations

New taxes, and new rules

March 26, 2018 - 12:20 pm

EAST LANSING (WWJ) - If you want to sell marijuana in Michigan, you need to know the rules.

Hundreds of medical marijuana license applicants gathered in East Lansing Monday for an educational session hosted by state officials.

Director of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation Andrew Brisbo said presenters would be on hand from multiple agencies including the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), the State Fire Marshal and the Department of Treasury. 

The session focused on "key details of the regulatory framework," for what is expected to be a $700 million-a-year industry in the state. Brisbo said topics would include design and construction code standards for facilities, worker safety -- and detailed information on new taxes.

"The provisioning centers have to collect the three percent excise tax from every sale; that's on their gross receipts. That's a new requirement that's only relevant to this particular business. It's a special tax only collected by provisioning centers," Brisbo said. "So, understanding the process of collecting that and understanding how it's remitted is going to be critical for them to stay compliant." 

 For those looking to open a pot shop in the state, Brisbo noted that the application does not come cheap. 

"There is a $6,000 application fee for any licensee that covers the cost of the background investigation," Brisbo said. "And we just announced the regulatory assessment at the last meeting. For Class A growers that's $10,000; safety compliant facilities don't pay the regulatory assessment and other license types will pay $48,000 annually."

Municipalities can additionally charge up to $5,000 to process applications, he said.

Michigan voters approved marijuana use for some chronic medical conditions in 2008; and since that time, there has been a lot of back and forth about whether to allow, and how to regulate dispensaries.

Before the new regulations were passed in 2017, Michigan's 218,500-plus  medical marijuana card holders were supposed to rely on the 38,100 registered caregivers, who under the law could supply marijuana to up to five patients. Officials have said there were several hundred pot shops in the state before the new rules took effect; with estimates just shy of 300 for the city of Detroit alone. 

Looking ahead, Brisbo said that even if a recreational marijuana legalization proposal gets on the Michigan ballot this November and is approved by voters, the state will continue to maintain a separate medical marijuana system, which is expected to be a $700 million-a-year industry.

[Potential applicants can get more information at this link.]