by Rick Thompson/February 26, 2018
Editor’s Note: The author, Rick Thompson, is mentioned in this story. ~RT
REDFORD, MICHIGAN- The new medical marijuana business program in Michigan accepted a staggering 173 applications in a single day, according to the Director of Michigan’s Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR).
Director Andrew Brisbo was a guest on Jazz Cabbage Cafe, a weekly talk radio show about cannabis issues of importance to Michigan and the world. Hosted by Jamie Lowell and Rick Thompson, the program airs weekly at 4pm on Tuesdays via the Cave Radio platform (www.crbradio.com).
BMMR began accepting applications for marijuana-related businesses on December 15, 2017. On February 15, 2018 a crucial application deadline passed for centers transitioning from the existing grey market to the new regulated marijuana cultivation and distribution market. Director Brisbo’s interview took place on Feb. 20.
“We did get 173 of those pre-qualification apps on (February) 15,” Brisbo said, adding that they were likely from “already operating” businesses trying to “beat the deadline” and continue operating legally.
Applications for the new medical marijuana business program must be in one of five named industries and involves two steps: approving the people (pre-qualification) and approving the business. To approve the business, applicants must obtain an authorizing letter from their city or township clerk known as an Attestation E letter.
“Most of the applications we have received to this point are for the pre-qualification step. We have 327 of those submitted and paid for,” Brisbo revealed. “We received quite a few more without fee payments but those wouldn’t be necessarily considered complete on our end until the payment has been received.”
Of completed applications, the Director said, “For the growers A, B and C we have 12, 3 and 36 respectively, 27 processors, 57 provisioning centers, 4 safety compliance facilities and still no secure transporters.”
An approved Class A grower can cultivate up to 500 plants; a Class B grower, 1000 plants; and a Class C grower can grow up to 1,500 plants. BMMR has determined that business entities can ‘stack’ licenses to aggregate possibly dozens of Class C licenses in a single plot to create mega-grow facilities of 10,000 or more plants.
When asked how many of Michigan’s currently operating medical marijuana businesses had met the submission deadline of February 15, the Director was not able to give a definitive answer. “I don’t have a firm count on how many of those we received had that Attestation E and have indicated they are currently operating,” he said, citing the cumbersome nature of interpreting hundreds of applications and the necessity of a manual review.
“We did get 173 of those pre-qualification apps on (February) 15,” Brisbo said. “I am assuming that is based on a lot of those folks trying to beat the deadline because they are already operating.”
The state’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) was passed in 2016 by the legislature. It creates a regulated and protected marijuana business market in permissive cities for the cultivation, processing, transport, testing and retail sale industries; the BMMR anticipates issuing licenses as early as April of 2018.
Jazz Cabbage Cafe is a weekly two-hour talk radio show regarding cannabis news and interviews from around the state and beyond. Tune in at 4pm EST on the Cave Radio network by visiting www.crbradio.com or stop by the website and listen to podcasts of the show.