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Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) recently released emergency regulations for its upcoming recreational cannabis market. On July 3, 2019, the MRA approved a set of temporary rules for prospective recreational retailers. The emergency regulations will last for six months and can be extended for an additional six months. Under the new rules, Michigan residents will soon be able to buy cannabis and consume it at licensed events and facilities.

Michigan voters first approved adult-use cannabis laws in November 2018 with a 57 percent majority vote. While the law took effect in December, recreational sales have been on hold until now. Michigan adults had to satisfy their pot demand on their own. Cannabis users are allowed to grow up to 12 plants at home, one of the highest limits in the country. If you’re interested in buying or growing cannabis when the new laws take effect, here’s what you need to know.

Buying Cannabis

The MRA may have set up a framework for licensed recreational cannabis retail shops, but don’t expect to see any pot shops open up in the next few months. The MRA will begin accepting retail licenses on November 1, 2019 and approving them by December 6, 2019. Applications were originally expected to be accepted in September, so it may take a few months before you can buy legal weed. Expect to buy legal weed sometime by mid-2020.

Once cannabis dispensaries are open, you’ll be able to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, another high limit compared to many other adult-use states that limit recreational customer sales to one ounce. Just remember, you’ll have to pay a 10 percent excise tax on all your cannabis purchases. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces can bring on civil infraction charges, a fine of up to $100, and forfeiture of any cannabis more than 2.5 ounces. If you’re caught with more than 5 ounces is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or more!

Social Consumption and Delivery

If you’re over 21 or a medical cardholder and have a valid photo ID, you’ll be able to buy marijuana at a licensed business. Cannabis dispensaries can apply for a social consumption license to allow individuals over 21 years of age to consume cannabis on-site. This opens up the door for cannabis lounges and clubs. Licensed social consumption businesses will not be able to sell food or alcohol at the premises. The MRA will also allow cannabis consumption at special events and festivals for event organizers with an applicable permit.

In May 2019, the MRA issued the first home delivery licenses for the medical marijuana market. Only medical cardholders were able to take advantage of delivery options. These new rules allow for adult-use home delivery, too. Home delivery businesses will be able to deliver cannabis to any licensed consumption facility or residence.

Cannabis Bans

Michigan’s new rules leave it up to local jurisdictions to choose if they want to participate in the recreational cannabis industry or not. Cities have until November 1, 2019 to decide if they want to ban cannabis sales. Many elected officials have waited patiently until the rules were set to make a decision. MLive reports that over 600 cities and towns have banned recreational cannabis businesses. This means that almost 4.7 million Michigan residents will have to seek cannabis elsewhere. Current bans can be reversed before the November 1st deadline.

Rules for Cultivators

In order to jump-start recreational cannabis sales, the MRA allows currently licensed growers to transfer marijuana seeds, tissue cultures, and clones to adult-use growers and micro-businesses. Class A growers and micro-businesses are allowed to accept marijuana plants one time from a registered primary caregiver as long as the caregiver was an applicant for the Class A license.

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Large-scale growers are capped at five licenses, or 10,000 plants. The MRA hopes to avoid a medical marijuana shortage problem by issuing a new license type, the excess grow license. Large recreational and medical growers can meet demand by applying for this license, which allows them to grow more than the current state limits. Additionally, adult-use license renewal fees will be divided into three tiers depending on the volume needed.

Medical and Recreational Dispensaries

Michigan’s medical and recreational cannabis laws have a lot of similarities, which makes it possible for a business to sell to medical and recreational patients in the same dispensary. Medical and recreational cannabis inventories must be separated to avoid confusion, but the facility can use the same point-of-sale systems for purchases and entrances by all consumers.

Medical dispensaries have the advantage of getting prioritized on the adult-use license queue. If you’re interested in applying for an adult-use license, you’ll have to submit a social equity plan that will help minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

Benefits of Adult-Use Licenses

Medical cannabis businesses, or anyone else for that matter, can benefit enormously from applying for an adult-use license. The MRA’s new recreational cannabis rules make it easier to apply for an adult-use license than a medical one. For one, there are no capitalization requirements for adult-use licenses and fewer financial documents needed. Medical marijuana businesses are required to prove they have between $200,000 to $500,000 in assets depending on the license type.

Adult-use licenses also have lower licensing fees than medical cannabis licenses. For example, if you want to apply for a recreational entry-level grow license (100 plants), it’ll run you $4,000 compared to a medical grow license (500 plants) for $10,000. Recreational dispensary licenses can cost between $20,000 to $30,000 compared to a medical dispensary license that runs you $66,000.

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It’s an exciting time for cannabis consumers and business owners in Michigan. The new rules are some of the most lenient and progressive in the nation. Not all the details are set, such as potency guidelines, but you can expect the MRA to deliver those rules over the next few months. Until then, you can grow your own weed without fear of repercussions.

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