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State to begin accepting recreational marijuana applications

Voters approved legal marijuana last November.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Friday, the doors will open for entrepreneurs to apply for a license to operate a recreational marijuana business. 

Many licenses require business owners to already be a licensed medical marijuana operator, but there are a few options for those new to the industry. 

"It's not unlikely that somewhere in Michigan we will probably begin to see adults use marijuana establishments, whether they're growers, processors or retailers probably in the early months of 2020," said Warner Norcross & Judd LLP Senior Counsel Robert Hendricks.

But it probably won't be here in Grand Rapids any time soon. While the city is allowing recreational weed, they're taking a cautious approach.

"They essentially said, 'we intend to allow adult recreational facilities in our jurisdiction but we need six months to plan for that,' and so the details of the ordinance haven't even come out," Hendricks said.

There are roughly 1,700 cities, townships and municipalities in Michigan.

"Over a thousand of those 1,700 had opted out," Hendricks said. "Many because they simply wanted to see what this was going to look like as the regulator began integrating medical and adult recreational licenses."

There are several different kinds of licenses: 

  • Class A Marijuana Grower
  • Marijuana Microbusiness
  • Designated Consumption Establishment
  • Marijuana Safety Compliance Facility
  • Marijuana Event Organizer
  • Temporary Marijuana Event
  • Class B Marijuana Grower
  • Class C Marijuana Grower
  • Excess Marijuana Grower
  • Marijuana Processor
  • Marijuana Retailer
  • Marijuana Secure Transporter

What's the difference between a marijuana retailer and a marijuana micro business?

"A micro business can only sell their own product; they can't acquire the product from another grower and they can't buy the product that's been processed by another processor," Hendricks said.

A micro business does not need to have a medical marijuana license. The same goes for a Class A Marijuana Grower, Designated Consumption Establishment, Marijuana Safety Compliance Facility, Marijuana Event Organizer and a Temporary Marijuana Event. The other licenses require the applicant to already have a medical marijuana license.

Hendricks thinks there will be a number of applications submitted to the state over the next couple of days and he thinks processing those applications will be fairly quick.

"The governor's office, the state police and the [Michigan Regulatory Agency] agency are all united in their view of what they do can help us eliminate the black market," Hendricks said.

Applications for all 12 kinds of licenses open at 12:01 a.m., on Friday, Nov. 1. Applicants are encouraged to submit their documents on the state's website.

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