The MMFLA application for Michigan medical marihuana facility licensing is both intricate and detailed. The MMFLA application is divided into two parts—the prequalification step and the facility licensing step. The pre-qualification step is perhaps the hardest and most time-consuming hurdle to overcome when trying to obtain an MMFLA license. While LARA officials initially stated that the whole MMFLA licensing process will take no more than four months—they appeared to have backed down from this statement. Instead of the whole process taking four months, just the prequalification step is taking certain MMFLA applicants more than four month.
However, there are a number of tactics that can be used to expedite the MMFLA licensing process and increase the chance of getting your medical marijuana facility quickly approved. According to LARA Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation Andrew Brisbo, medical marijuana businesses can use a number of strategies and best practices to speed up their MMFLA licensing application. Mr. Brisbo recently spoke on this very topic. Here are ten tips on MMFLA licensing straight from Director Brisbo himself:
- The number one priority is completeness. The department prioritizes applications in the interest of fairness. First by the order received, and then by the completeness of the application. An MMFLA application missing essential elements or information will have a hard time moving through the process.
- Include a flow chart of your organizational structure. The more organized and complete your MMFLA application is, the faster BMMR can process and present your application to the board for a decision. An organizational flow chart will assist them to understand how you are currently running (or plan to run) your business. It will also let sooner assess if they require additional information.
- It may be a good idea to include a short personal statement or introduction with the application. It is important to remember that part of the criteria that your MMFLA application will be judged upon is subjective. Since you and your attorney will not have the opportunity to meet with the Board directly to present or further explain the information in your MMFLA application, it may help to introduce yourself, and your business, so the Board has more than the neutral report compiled by BMMR, to go on. A short personal statement has the ability to rehumanize you when the Board is reviewing your MMFLA application.
- Be responsive and attentive to requests from the BMMR. If there are questions about your MMFLA application that are unanswered, then the BMMR must wait for you to provide the answer before they can complete the investigation. In addition to making sure you present your MMFLA application with all of the relevant and required information, you also need to be prepared to answer questions that may arise for your unique case. Ultimately, make sure that when you receive a request from the BMMR, you are timely in your response.
- If you aren’t sure it is relevant, disclose anyway. One of the biggest hinderances of moving an MMFLA application through the process is lack of necessary information and a delay in reply from the applicant. You can mitigate both of these by giving the BMMR more information than you may think they need. If you are preparing your MMFLA application and you are not sure if some information is relevant, disclose it. In the eyes of the department, it is better to give them more information than they need than for them to find out something you didn’t tell them. Remember the timing and method of how the information was obtained by the department is going to be given to the board to consider when they see your MMFLA application. You do not want to give the board any reason to believe that you were omitting on purpose or were trying to avoid or circumvent the rules.
- Make sure to disclose all financial information. Since we are talking about disclosure, it is important to remember to make a full and complete disclosure of your financial information with your application. This includes financial records for other business that you may have, even if they are not related to the industry. The most forgotten detail is personal financial records. It may seem like those are irrelevant because you have accounts set up for your business, but personal financial data is also important. BMMR needs that information in addition the business accounts to verify where the money coming into and leaving your business is coming from. Failure to include this information will delay the application.
- Additional managers will need to go through the approval process. Managers and owners as defined by the rules need to go through the MMFLA application approval process. This also applies to managers or owners added after the application has begun or is completed. A manager or owner is someone who has decision making power of the business. Simply put any person not already included in your MMFLA application at the start of your application that has some measure of control over your business must submit a supplemental form to your application and provided all relevant data
- BMMR does not make a recommendation on whether or not your application should be approved. Despite rumors to the contrary, the BMMR does not submit an opinion on your MMFLA application when they present it to the Licensing Board. They only compile facts, perform their investigation, and submit your completed application with a report and summary. The decision to deny or approve rests with the Board alone.
- Make sure to review the administration rules for facility compliance before your inspection. The BMMR has a list of compliance factors for each type of facility available online here . Getting online and making sure you are complying before the inspection is another way to help the process move efficiently. The department will of course let you know of any problems or changes that have to be made in order for you to be in compliance but those changes will also have to be inspected and you can’t be approved until the inspection is complete. Take the time to find out if you are in compliance or if you need to make changes before your site is inspected. Proactive changes and behaviors will greatly benefit you while you work towards full licensure.
- Remember to dispose of out of state-sourced materials. If you have out-of-state sourced materials your site cannot be certified until they are gone. At this time the department is not confiscating any products, but the presence of out-of-state source materials will hold up your application.
If you have been following our Medical Marijuana Licensing Board updates (available here and (MMFLA Licensing here ) or have read our article on the politics of licensing, you know that not everyone is getting a license. Just because you are initially denied a MMFLA license by the licensing board does not mean that all is lost. There is an appeals process if your MMFLA license application is denied by the Licensing Board.
Presently, you have 21 days to respond to a denial of an application. Your appeal then goes to an administrative law judge, who conducts factfinding and makes a recommendation to the MMFLA Licensing Board. You are able to request LARA’s licensing report that was provided to the Licensing Board members, which can help you with the appeal process. It is possible that one or more MMFLA Licensing Board members based their decisions off facts not contained in the report, which could form the basis for a successful appeal. After the factfinding, the ALJ makes a recommendation to the Licensing Board, which then reconsiders your MMFLA application in light of the new evidence and recommendation. If denied once again, you would be able to file an appeal in Michigan circuit court.
Putting the appeal process aside, the most important thing to keep in mind throughout the process is to fully disclose everything, and fully comply with requests from the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR). The most common reason that MMFLA applications are currently being denied is the failure to disclose material information on your MMFLA application—usually criminal charges from years or even decades ago. Even if you hire an MMFLA application expert, if you fail to provide them all material information requested as part of the application, the Licensing Board could deny your application for your failure to disclose all information on your MMFLA application.
Scott F. Roberts Law is a Michigan medical marijuana business law firm assisting Cannabis and CBD businesses throughout the state. If you are in need of an MMFLA attorney to assist you with your MMFLA license application, contact us today to set up a free consultation and receive a quote for our MMFLA application services.