Michigan gives newly licensed medical marijuana businesses cushion for testing
Lansing — The state has offered newly licensed medical marijuana businesses a slight reprieve by allowing them a 30-day window in which to test products already onsite.
Once the state’s medical marijuana industry is fully in place, medical marijuana will be tested at least once after it's grown and once after processing, said Licensing and Regulatory Affairs spokesman David Harns.
But as the industry becomes licensed, many businesses operating temporarily with local authorization will have untested medical marijuana on hand when they receive licenses.
The state will allow those business a month to test, label and record their product with the state, Harns said. After the 30-day window, any remaining untested medical marijuana must be removed from the facility.
Last week, the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board granted its first seven operating licenses to medical marijuana businesses, including a provisioning center in Ann Arbor. The state has yet to issue a license to a testing facility, but may do so in August.
Facilities approved for operating licenses must pay a regulatory assessment of $48,000 and test, label and record their medical marijuana in a statewide database before selling it.
When the facilities are in operation, they’ll have to renew their licenses annually and be subject to inspections at least twice a year by the state and the Bureau of Fire Services.
The 30-day window, while it allows businesses time to test products already on site, does not allow businesses to continue selling untested medical marijuana after obtaining licenses, Harns said. The rule likely will cause a slight interruption to some businesses as they work to test, label and record their inventory, especially since the state has yet to issue any licenses to testing facilities.
“We’re working with the licensees to do what makes the most sense for each of them,” Harns said. “Until we get a fully functioning system, we understand that it’s going to be a unique situation.”
The 30-day window also allows facilities a month to hire former caregivers if they choose to do so and incorporate caregiver product into their inventory. The window to do so expires Dec. 31.
Some medical marijuana businesses applying for operating licenses with the state have continued operating temporarily under emergency rules. The rules allowed businesses that applied by February to continue operating until Sept. 15 while their applications were reviewed.
The 10-stage application process that the medical marijuana entrepreneurs have undertaken includes a $6,000 application fee, a review by a contract investigation firm and an intelligence work-up by the state police. Benchmarks for approval include high "moral character, integrity and reputation."
Seven operating licenses have so far been approved, one denied and another tabled. The board has approved 40 out of more than 600 pre-qualification applications filed since December and denied 14.