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What to Know About Recreational Marijuana in Michigan

By: Griffin Kas and Scott Roberts

As Michigan cannabis attorneys, we get asked almost every single day about adult-use (or recreational) marijuana by both business owners and consumers. Recreational marijuana in Michigan has been a continuously growing industry with more and more business owners eager to open their own marijuana establishment and more consumers ready to get their hands on some great Michigan cannabis products. 

However, with caregiver product produced under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act being shut out of the adult-use system, there is not enough marijuana flower and processed products to go around. This has caused prices for recreational marijuana in Michigan to remain high, with some cartridges retailing at over $100.

December 1, 2019 was the first day of recreational sales in Michigan. Lines of consumers wrapped around buildings and filled sidewalks just at the chance of legally purchasing their favorite marijuana products. Even though it has been almost a year since recreational marijuana was welcomed to Michigan, sales are still not slowing down. During 2020 total recreational marijuana sales have exceeded $200 million, despite COVID-19. and product shortages causing high retail prices. With a majority of other businesses shut down, the Michigan recreational marijuana industry was considered an essential business and continued to provide patients and consumers alike with products throughout lockdown and stay at home orders. 

With that in mind, we will answer some of the most common “frequently asked questions” we get from Michigan cannabis consumers and business owners below. 

Who can purchase marijuana in Michigan?

Anyone with a valid ID who is over the age of 21 years old can visit a recreational marijuana dispensary in Michigan. Most retailers primarily accept cash as the only form of payment, but more are beginning to accept electronic payments as well. Marijuana dispensaries have also been forced to adapt to the new normal with COVID. Many provide curbside pickup or delivery options. In order to use these options, consumers can complete online purchases and pick up from the dispensary without leaving their car or have the dispensary come right to them! While many dispensaries utilize Weedmaps for pre-orders and deliveries, many operate their own internal delivery and ordering services.

Click here to find the closest dispensary to you! 

Can I own a recreational cannabis license without first owning a medical marijuana facility?

Recreational marijuana in Michigan is about to see a big change, for the benefit of business owners and consumers alike. As the law currently stands, the only recreational licenses available to those without an already active medical marijuana facility are a Class A grow (100 plants) and a microbusiness (150 plants, processing and retail). As cannabis attorneys, we have heard and assisted with the overall frustration felt by many entrepreneurs and consumers who wish to see more recreational marijuana establishments throughout the state of Michigan. This has also prevented new businesses from applying for licenses in municipalities that opted into adult use but never opted in under the MMFLA.

Recently, the MRA has announced that as of March 1, 2021 they will open up the recreational marijuana licensing process to all applicants regardless of whether they first held an MMFLA license. This means that anyone interested in applying for a Class C Grow (2,000 plants), a retailer license, or any other marijuana license can finally apply without limitation. 

This change will bring many more recreational marijuana dispensaries and microbusinesses to Michigan. That means more products, brands, and variety in these shops.

Do I need to be a caregiver to grow marijuana in my home?

Not anymore! The MRTMA allows Michigan residents to grow up to twelve plants for personal use at their residence. You can also legally give away some of your excess marijuana from your home grow as long as you don’t receive any sort of compensation in return.
If you are interested in starting your own recreational marijuana business contact the cannabis attorneys at Scott Roberts Law today! 

How much marijuana can I legally possess in Michigan? Is it still only 2.5 ounces?

No, you can possess more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, but any amount over this 2.5 ounces must be stored in compliance with state law. The MRTMA allows you to possess up to 10 ounces of marihuana within your place of residence as long as the excess marihuana is stored in a container or area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the contents of the container or area.

What if my municipal government doesn’t want adult-use marijuana but the city residents do?

The MRTMA allows you to initiate a voter petition to put an MRTMA opt-in on your municipalities next election. How many signatures you need depends on the number of voters who have voted in your municipality. However, there is some legal ambiguity as to what can actually be in a voter-initiated adult use ordinance, with some arguing that only the number and license types can be included, and others believing that a fully formed ordinance (without zoning) could be initiated. 

What is recreational marijuana?

In Michigan, there are three Michigan cannabis laws that allow the cultivation of marijuana—the MRTMA, the MMMA , and the MMFLA. The MMMA and MMFLA regulate medical marijuana, while the MRTMA regulates adult-use or recreational marijuana. Cannabis that is grown at an MRTMA facility, or transferred from an MMFLA facility to an MRTMA facility pursuant to applicable MRA rules and policies, is considered “recreational marijuana” and can be purchased by any adult age 21 and up at a recreational marijuana dispensary in Michigan. Recreational marijuana is subject to less stringent testing requirements in Michigan compared to medical marijuana sold at a medical dispensary.   

How much does marijuana cost at dispensaries in Michigan?

This depends first on whether the dispensary is “medical” or “recreational.” Marijuana is cheaper at medical dispensaries, also called “provisioning centers”, and is not subject to the 10% excise tax on marijuana sales. Marijuana is more expensive at recreational dispensaries, also called marijuana “retailers”, and is also subject to a 10% excise tax. The actual price of marijuana at each varies by location.

How do you sell marijuana to dispensaries in Michigan?

In order to sell marijuana to Michigan dispensaries, you need a grower or processor license under the MMFLA or MRTMA, which are Michigan’s two marijuana facility licensing laws. Click the link to find out more on how to get an MMFLA or MRTMA license.

How can I invest in marijuana facilities in Michigan?

There are many ways to invest in Michigan marijuana facilities. Due to cannabis companies being mostly unable to obtain traditional bank loans, and many angel investors being scared of investing in marijuana due to its current federal illegality, cannabis companies are constantly seeking debt and equity investment

You can be a cannabis real estate investor, you can invest directly in the licensed entity through an exempt offering, including a MILE Act crowdfund offering, or you can buy stock in a public company with facilities in Michigan. Investing directly in Michigan licensees will often be more lucrative than investing in the stock market, though such investments are generally riskier compared to investing in public companies.

How does Michigan divide up the excise tax money from marijuana sales?

Until 2022, Michigan will set aside $20 Million Dollars each year from the excise tax proceeds on adult-use cannabis sales to research the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of veterans and preventing veteran suicide. Any additional money during these first two years, as well as excise tax proceeds generated after 2022, are divided up as follows: 

1. 15% to municipalities in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the municipality; 
2. 15% to counties in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the county; 
3. 35% to the school aid fund to be used for K-12 education; and 
4. 35% to the Michigan transportation fund to be used for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges.

Who can purchase marijuana from Michigan dispensaries?

There are two types of dispensaries in Michigan—medical dispensaries and recreational / adult-use dispensaries. For Michigan recreational / adult-use dispensaries, anyone 21 years or older with a valid government ID can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. 

Medical marijuana dispensaries, however, require a person to only be 18 years old but they must have a valid medical marijuana card. Michigan medical dispensaries are allowed to accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards, including medical marijuana cards from Ohio, though not all do. 


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