10 Things You Need To Know Before Opening A Marihuana Provisioning Center

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You may be thinking of starting a marihuana provisioning center in Michigan. Now, after the passage of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act or the MMFLA (M.C.L. 333.27401 et seq.) that is possible, but only if you get municipal approval and a State issued operations license. “Provisioning Center” is the legally allowable term under Michigan’s Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, for what was formerly referred to colloquially as a “dispensary.” The current guidelines no longer permit such businesses to be referred to legally as “dispensaries” and the State requires that they be referred to as marihuana provisioning centers. A provisioning center is generally a business where qualifying patients under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act or the MMMA (M.C.L. 333.26421 et seq.) can come to acquire medical marihuana for medical use. While a provisioning center can be a rewarding endeavor, there are a couple of things you to know before you move forward.

Can You Transport Marijuana In A Private Vehicle?

Currently, under Michigan law, the general guideline is that possession and transport of marihuana in a vehicle is prohibited by law, and subjects you to criminal penalties. Only registered qualifying patients and registered caregivers under the MMMA may transport marihuana in a automobile. Even then, they have to do so in strict compliance with the MMMA. Cannabis may only carried in a locked, closed container in the trunk of a vehicle, where it can not be accessed by the driver or individuals in the passenger compartment. You may likewise not have more than 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, per registered qualifying patient. Caregivers may transport usable marihuana for up to five patients (and themselves too if the caregiver is also a qualifying patient) or up to 12 plants per patient (again, including plants for the caregiver, if they are also a qualifying patient). Under the MMFLA, however, provisioning centers that are licensed by the State and their local municipality, must only accept marihuana into their center that is brought by a MMFLA State Licensed Secured Transporter, or, if they have a grow or processing center co-located (attached to or on the same property) and transport of the marihuana will not take place on a public road, it can be moved as stated by LARA, BMMR under the Administrative rules.

Just How Much Marijuana Can You Offer?

A licensed provisioning center under the MMFLA may not sell more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana per day to a registered qualifying patient. A provisioning center that is licensed may also offer to a registered primary caregiver, but not more than 2.5 ounces per qualifying patient attached to the caregiver’s license. If you are licensed by the State to operate a provisioning center, you will have to use a point of sale system that has software that is complaint with the Statewide Monitoring Database, which utilizes a software program called METRC. The State allows making use of twenty-four (24) software programs that are METRC compliant. Every consumer who enters a provisioning center, you will need to use a point of sale system that has software that is compliant. Every client who sets foot in a provisioning center must have their card run through the Statewide Monitoring Database to make sure that they have not already been supplied their maximum daily quantity of 2.5 ounces from another licensed provisioning center. A provisioning center must likewise update the qualifying patient’s profile on the Statewide Monitoring Database after sale, so that the Database will show how much medical marihuana was bought by the patient at your provisioning center.

What License Do You Need?

You need a full license provided by the state to operate as a Michigan provisioning center. If you are growing cannabis, you will also need to make certain that you obtain a Michigan commercial grow license application. You might want to speak with an MMFLA attorney, such as Fowler & Williams, PLC, about this to guarantee that you are fully licensed, or you will be shut down. Most importantly, DO NOT start operating your provisioning center without a State license being issued to you under the MMFLA. While the process of getting a license is complicated and requires a substantial amount of time and money, the success of these provisioning centers far exceeds the cost of getting one. If you can qualify for a license and get through the application procedure to obtain a provisioning center license, you ought to do so before you start running.

Can You Get More Than One License?

Yes, you can apply and qualify for more than one license. This is useful for any business or person who wants to establish a provisioning center and a grow or processor at the very same time. According to the law, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing this. Even more, you can obtain numerous provisioning center licenses so that you can operate numerous provisioning centers in different cities. The licenses do not attach to the person or the business that is using, permitting you to utilize it anywhere you desire. Rather, the licenses attach to the property you provide on your application for the business. Therefore, if you wish to open numerous provisioning centers, you will need to submit numerous State applications. If you prefer to get different types of licenses (say a grow or processor license) in addition to a provisioning center, you can co-locate them at one center, however you need to submit different applications for each license type, and should meet the minimum financial and background requirements individually for each license type.

Just How Much Will A License Cost?

The cost for the license application to the State is $6,000.00 per application, regardless of license type applied for, including for a provisioning center. There are also municipal application costs, which can be up to $5,000.00 per application. Each municipality is different, and they can charge different fees, and they can differ the charges depending upon which type of license you apply for. Typically, nevertheless, they charge the maximum permitted, which is $5,000.00 per license application. Even more, after you get a State license, there are regulatory assessments that have to be paid yearly, both after issuance and each year after when the license is renewed.

In 2018, the assessments differ.

Secured Transporters and Safety Compliance Facilities (testing labs) have no assessment ($ 0.00).

Class A Growers have a $10,000.00 regulatory assessment.

Class B and Class C Growers, Provisioning Centers and Processors have a $48,000.00 regulatory assessment.

The State has said that beginning in 2019 there will be a standardized regulatory assessment that will apply to all license holders, despite the type of license issued. For now, however, the assessments will remain as noted above. You will also discover that there are other professional charges that you will have to pay in order to guarantee that your application is complete, and that your business plan, with all of its needed parts, is up to par with the State’s application requests. Those expenses can differ drastically, and are difficult to predict.

Needless to say, the application and licensing process is an expensive endeavor, but in a market that is slated to do about $891,000,000.00 in annual sales this year, up from about $741,000,000.00 in 2017, the return on investment might be significant.

Should You Have A Lawyer?

While not required, you should certainly make sure that you are acquiring suggestions from an MMFLA attorney before you consider opening a Michigan provisioning center. It  is essential that you get the best possible legal suggestions and that you are following all the regulations and requirements. Only an lawyer experienced in dealing with cases under the MMMA and licensing work under the MMFLA, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can guarantee that you have all the tools and guidance that you need to give your application the very best possibility at success. Failure to make certain that your application is complete, and that it supplies support for your ability to currently comply and ensure future compliance with the Administrative rules, your application is much more likely to be declined or denied, and your dream of opening a provisioning center brought to an unceremonious ending.

How Much Will This Business Cost?

You can anticipate the total start-up costs for this type of company to be anywhere between 400 and 500K, at a minimum. While the State requires a minimum capitalization requirement of $300,000.00 (one quarter of which must be liquid funds), that will not be sufficient, realistically, to start business. You will need to potentially buy land or property in an opted-in municipality. (Here is an up to date list of Michigan Municipalities currently opted-in to MMFLA) There will be obligatory fees, costs, and expert services that you need to get to ensure that your application is precise and complete, and to ensure that you are presently in compliance with all laws and policies, as well as guaranteeing future compliance. This consists of everything from licensing to a complete team of staff members and much more. It’s certainly not inexpensive, and you need to be prepared for a heavy financial investment. Nevertheless, as noted above, the marketplace is big, and continuing to grow.

Can You Go Mobile?

No, you can not run a mobile provisioning center as it is presently prohibited to operate one in the state of Michigan. Nevertheless, this might change, which’s why it  is essential to speak with a medical marihuana lawyer routinely, so that you are keeping up to date with changes to the law. Marijuana law is an evolving and altering field, and as a outcome, there may come a time where the MMFLA or the MMMA is amended to permit a mobile provisioning center.

What Are You Legally Able To Do?

As a provisioning center, your sole function is to supply safe medical marihuana to registered qualifying patients. You might only offer marihuana or marihuana infused products that were grown by a MMFLA licensed grower or processed by a MMFLA licensed processor and the items have been tested by a MMFLA licensed safety compliance facility with correct labeling and tracking. You may not offer these items prior to your obtaining a license, unless you were running with city approval prior to February 15, 2018 and you have actually already sent an application to the State looking for a license.

Soon a change in law will likely allow for recreational cannabis sales. If the ballot initiative passes, for the first 2 years after the State passes recreational cannabis facility regulations and begins accepting licensing applications, only centers licensed by the MMFLA to offer, grow, process, transport or test medical marihuana will be lawfully allowed to obtain recreational marihuana licenses for the same activity. Hence, obtaining a provisioning center license under the MMFLA, gives you the chance to enter the recreational market, where others will not.

What Are The Requirements?

In order to make an application for a provisioning center license, you need to guarantee that you do not have a disqualifying criminal conviction, and that you meet the minimum capitalization requirements, which as noted earlier are $300,000.00 with 25% liquid capital. You will likewise have to obtain an properly zoned structure in a city or town that has “opted-in” to the MMFLA to allow such facilities to run within their borders. Whether your own it or rent it does not matter, however you need to have the structure. After that, you will have to produce a business plan which contains all of the required elements from the state, including a security plan, facility plan, marketing plan, staffing plan, technology plan, recordkeeping plan, waste disposal plan, and more, showing that you will comply with the State’s regulations now and in the future.


We hope this provides you with some of the info you need before opening a Michigan provisioning center. Needless to say, the process is pricey, complicated and time consuming, however the reward and ROI can be considerable. In reality, obtaining a competent MMFLA and MMMA lawyer, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can help streamline and simplify the application process, and take the majority of the work off your plate.

If you want info, or want to come in and discuss obtaining a provisioning center license, we would love to have you come in for a consultation.


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