Michigan Agency Preparing for Medical Marijuana License Applications in December

A non-refundable application fee to offset costs of a background investigation of those applying for licenses is expected to be in the $4,000 to $8,000 range, depending on the number of applications received.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs plans to issue emergency rules to implement the new Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing Act (MMFLA) and discussed this during a Sept. 12 meeting of the state's Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. LARA, in consultation with the board, has sole authority to promulgate rules and emergency rules as necessary to implement, administer, and enforce the act and said it expects to submit the emergency rules in November to spell out regulatory policies, including the application and licensing process and the fee structure. LARA said it is working with the board to develop permanent rules.

LARA's news release last week said it consulted with the Michigan Attorney General's office regarding facilities and dispensaries currently in operation and determined any regulatory action will require an administrative rule. Its intent for the emergency rules is to consider any operation of a facility that would otherwise need to be licensed under the act as a potential impediment to licensure if continued after Dec. 15, 2017, the date when LARA will begin accepting license applications for all facilities. "This applies to all facilities defined under MMFLA. This approach will allow existing operations to wind down while also giving adequate time for patients to establish connections to caregivers to help ensure continuity of access," its announcement stated.

The act requires LARA, in consultation with the board, to set the application fee and the annual regulatory assessment for each license. The fees will include a non-refundable application fee that offsets the cost for LARA, the Michigan State Police, and/or contract costs for investigative services to conduct the background investigation of those applying for licenses. That application fee is expected to be in the $4,000 to $8,000 range, depending on the number of applications received, according to LARA.

The annual Regulatory Assessment will offset operational costs and other statutory mandates, including LARA's costs to implement the act. It also offsets the cost of medical marijuana-related services provided to LARA by the Michigan Attorney General's office, MSP, and the Department of Treasury. By statute, the assessment also must provide $500,000 annually to LARA for licensing substance abuse disorder programs, in addition to 5 percent of other state departments' costs to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for substance abuse-related expenses.

LARA said it is currently determining the annual regulatory assessment for fiscal year 2018 for each of the five license categories authorized by the act. Grower A licenses are capped by statute at $10,000. Grower B-C, Processor, Transporter, and Provisioning Center licenses will depend on the number of total licenses subject to assessment and could be as low as $10,000 or as high as $57,000. The regulatory assessment does not apply to safety compliance facilities.

The Medical Marihuana Licensing Board is scheduled to meet again in regular sessions on Oct. 17 and Nov. 28 in East Lansing, Mich. More information on the BMMR can be found at the bureau’s website: www.michigan.gov/bmmr.

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