On October 6, 2020, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (“MRA”) announced that starting March 1, 2021 it would be removing the eligibility restriction on certain adult use license applications under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“MRTMA”). Section 9 of MRTMA prohibits MRA from accepting an application from a person who does not hold a medical marihuana facility license under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”), with the restriction applying to: Retailer, Processor, Class B Grower, Class C Grower, and Secure Transporter. Although the restriction was initially set to last for two years from the date MRA first began accepting Adult Use license, MRTMA allows MRA to rescind the prohibition after one year if MRA (as it did with the October 6 announcement) “determines that additional state licenses are necessary to minimize the illegal market for marihuana in this state.”
Following its October 6 announcement, MRA issued an advisory bulletin on November 13, 2020 laying out the process for a person to apply for one of the applicable adult use licenses before (and after) March 1, 2021. First, and most importantly, applicants who do not hold a MMFLA license and wish to apply for a MRTMA license may begin the application process now by filing a prequalification application as a new applicant. The applicant, however, will be unable to file a step-2 facility license application or receive an adult use license until March 1, 2021.
Second, applicants who do hold a MMFLA license may continue to utilize an expedited prequalification application process until March 1, 2021 and may submit a step-2 application once they have been prequalified under MRTMA. The expedited prequalification application is significantly shorter than the application for new applicants, as it dispenses with the need to fill out most sections of the application, provide business documents, and submit supplemental applications.
Third, on and after March 1, 2021, all applicants regardless of MMFLA license status must follow and complete the same prequalification application process for new applicants. In other words, MMFLA-licensed applicants will need to prepare a more demanding application similar in scope to the current prequalification application for MMFLA licenses. That said, MRA intends to expedite the application process—or at least the criminal and financial background checks—for supplemental applicants who were previously prequalified under the MMFLA.
However an applicant is able or chooses to apply, if that applicant wishes to pursue licensure as a participant in MRA’s social equity program, the applicant must apply for the program and receive a determination before applying for licensure under MRTMA.
From a practical standpoint, a person licensed under the MMFLA with future plans to become licensed under MRTMA should consider filing a MRTMA prequalification application prior to March 1, 2021 to take advantage of an easier application process. Even if the applicant is not ready to file a step-2 application and obtain an adult use license any time soon, a person without an active adult use license retains their prequalification status for two years from the date it was granted.