10 Things You Need To Know Before Opening A Marihuana Provisioning Center

You might be thinking about opening a marihuana provisioning center in Michigan. Now, after the passage of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act or the MMFLA (M.C.L. 333.27401 et seq.) that is possible, but only if you get municipal approval and a State issued operations license. “Provisioning Center” is the legally permissible term under Michigan’s Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, for what was previously referred to colloquially as a “dispensary.” The current policies no longer permit such businesses to be referred to legally as “dispensaries” and the State requires that they be referred to as marihuana provisioning centers. A provisioning center is basically a company where qualifying patients under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act or the MMMA (M.C.L. 333.26421 et seq.) can come to acquire medical marihuana for medical usage. While a provisioning center can be a successful endeavor, there are a few things you to understand before you move forward.

Can You Transport Cannabis In A Personal Vehicle?

Presently, under Michigan law, the general rule is that possession and transport of marihuana in a automobile is forbidden by law, and subjects you to criminal penalties. Only registered qualifying patients and registered caregivers under the MMMA may transport marihuana in a automobile. Even then, they have to do so in strict compliance with the MMMA. Marijuana may only transported in a locked, closed container in the trunk of a vehicle, where it can not be accessed by the driver or persons in the passenger compartment. You may likewise not have more than 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, per registered qualifying patient. Caregivers may transport usable marihuana for as much as 5 patients (and themselves also if the caregiver is also a qualifying patient) or up to 12 plants per patient (again, including plants for the caregiver, if they are also a qualifying patient). Under the MMFLA, nevertheless, provisioning centers that are licensed by the State and their local municipality, must only accept marihuana into their center that is brought by a MMFLA State Licensed Secured Transporter, or, if they have a grow or processing center co-located ( connected to or on the same property) and transport of the marihuana will not take place on a public street, it can be moved as set forth by LARA, BMMR under the Administrative guidelines.

How Much Marijuana Can You Supply?

A licensed provisioning center under the MMFLA may not sell more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana each day to a registered qualifying patient. A provisioning center that is licensed may likewise sell to a registered primary caregiver, however not more than 2.5 ounces per qualifying patient attached to the caregiver’s license. If you are licensed by the State to run a provisioning center, you will have to use a point of sale system that has software that is complaint with the Statewide Monitoring Database, which utilizes a software program called METRC. The State permits making use of twenty-four (24) software programs that are METRC compliant. Every customer who enters a provisioning center, you will have to utilize a point of sale system that has software that is compliant. Every customer who enters a provisioning center needs to have their card run through the Statewide Monitoring Database to ensure that they have not already been supplied their maximum daily allotment of 2.5 ounces from another licensed provisioning center. A provisioning center should also update the qualifying patient’s profile on the Statewide Monitoring Database after sale, so that the Database will show how much medical marihuana was acquired by the patient at your provisioning center.

What License Do You Need?

You need a full license given by the state to operate as a Michigan provisioning center. If you are growing cannabis, you will also need to ensure that you get a Michigan commercial grow license application. You might wish to speak with an MMFLA legal representative, such as Fowler & Williams, PLC, about this to make sure that you are fully licensed, or you will be closed down. Most importantly, DO NOT begin running your provisioning center without a State license being issued to you under the MMFLA. While the process of obtaining a license is intricate and needs a significant quantity of time and money, the success of these provisioning centers far surpasses the expense of acquiring one. If you can qualify for a license and make it through the application procedure to obtain a provisioning center license, you must do so before you begin running.

Can You Get More Than One License?

Yes, you can apply and qualify for more than one license. This is useful for any business or person who wishes to establish a provisioning center and a grow or processor at the same time. According to the law, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing this. Even more, you can obtain several provisioning center licenses so that you can run several provisioning centers in various cities. The licenses do not connect to the person or the business that is applying, enabling you to use it anywhere you desire. Rather, the licenses connect to the property you list on your application for the business. Therefore, if you wish to open multiple provisioning centers, you will have to send multiple State applications. If you want to obtain various types of licenses (say a grow or processor license) in addition to a provisioning center, you can co-locate them at one facility, but you need to send separate applications for each license type, and need to satisfy the minimum financial and background requirements individually for each license type.

Just How Much Will A License Cost?

The cost for the license application to the State is $6,000.00 per application, regardless of license type applied for, including for a provisioning center. There are also municipal application charges, which can be up to $5,000.00 per application. Each municipality is different, and they can charge different fees, and they can differ the fees depending on which type of license you apply for. Usually, nevertheless, they charge the maximum enabled, which is $5,000.00 per license application. Further, after you get a State license, there are regulatory assessments that will need to be paid every year, both after issuance and each year after when the license is renewed.

In 2018, the assessments differ.

Secured Transporters and Safety Compliance Facilities (testing labs) have no assessment ($ 0.00).

Class A Growers have a $10,000.00 regulatory assessment.

Class B and Class C Growers, Provisioning Centers and Processors have a $48,000.00 regulatory assessment.

The State has actually stated that beginning in 2019 there will be a standardized regulatory assessment that will apply to all license holders, regardless of the kind of license provided. For now, however, the assessments will stay as noted above. You will likewise discover that there are other professional charges that you will need to pay in order to guarantee that your application is complete, and that your business plan, with all of its required parts, is up to par with the State’s application requests. Those costs can vary drastically, and are difficult to predict.

Needless to say, the application and licensing process is an pricey endeavor, however in a market that is slated to do about $891,000,000.00 in annual sales this year, up from about $741,000,000.00 in 2017, the roi could be substantial.

Should You Have A Lawyer?

While not mandatory, you should definitely ensure that you are obtaining recommendations from an MMFLA attorney before you consider opening a Michigan provisioning center. It  is essential that you get the very best possible legal advice and that you are following all the regulations and requirements. Only an lawyer experienced in managing cases under the MMMA and licensing work under the MMFLA, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can ensure that you have all the tools and guidance that you need to give your application the very best chance at success. Failure to make sure that your application is complete, and that it supplies support for your capability to currently comply and make sure future compliance with the Administrative rules, your application is far more likely to be rejected or denied, and your dream of opening a provisioning center brought to an unceremonious ending.

How Much Will This Business Cost?

You can anticipate the total start-up expenses for this kind of service to be anywhere between 400 and 500K, at a minimum. While the State needs a minimum capitalization requirement of $300,000.00 (one quarter of which must be liquid funds), that will not suffice, realistically, to start business. You will need to potentially acquire land or property in an opted-in municipality. (Here is an up to date list of Michigan Municipalities currently opted-in to MMFLA) There will be obligatory fees, costs, and expert services that you need to get to make sure that your application is precise and complete, and to ensure that you are presently in compliance with all laws and regulations, along with ensuring future compliance. This includes everything from licensing to a complete group of workers and much more. It’s definitely not inexpensive, and you need to be prepared for a heavy investment. Nevertheless, as noted above, the market is large, and continuing to grow.

Can You Go Mobile?

No, you can not run a mobile provisioning center as it is presently unlawful to run one in the state of Michigan. However, this might change, and that’s why it  is necessary to talk to a medical marihuana lawyer routinely, so that you are keeping up to date with changes to the law. Cannabis law is an evolving and changing field, and as a result, there might come a time where the MMFLA or the MMMA is amended to permit a mobile provisioning center.

What Are You Lawfully Able To Do?

As a provisioning center, your sole function is to supply safe medical marihuana to registered qualifying patients. You might only sell marihuana or marihuana infused products that were grown by a MMFLA licensed grower or processed by a MMFLA licensed processor and the items have been tested by a MMFLA licensed safety compliance facility with appropriate labeling and tracking. You may not offer these items prior to your obtaining a license, unless you were operating with city approval prior to February 15, 2018 and you have already submitted an application to the State seeking a license.

Soon a modification in law will likely allow for recreational cannabis sales. If the ballot initiative passes, for the first 2 years after the State passes recreational marijuana facility regulations and starts accepting licensing applications, only facilities licensed by the MMFLA to sell, grow, process, transport or test medical marihuana will be lawfully allowed to request recreational marihuana licenses for the same activity. Hence, getting a provisioning center license under the MMFLA, gives you the chance to go into the recreational market, where others will not.

What Are The Requirements?

In order to look for a provisioning center license, you need to guarantee that you do not have a disqualifying criminal conviction, and that you fulfill the minimum capitalization requirements, which as noted earlier are $300,000.00 with 25% liquid capital. You will likewise need to get an properly zoned building in a city or township that has “opted-in” to the MMFLA to allow such centers to operate within their boundaries. Whether your own it or lease it does not matter, but you need to have the building. After that, you will have to produce a business plan that contains all of the necessary components from the state, including a security plan, facility plan, marketing plan, staffing plan, technology plan, recordkeeping plan, waste disposal plan, and more, showing that you will comply with the State’s guidelines now and in the future.


We hope this offers you with some of the info you need before opening a Michigan provisioning center. Needless to say, the procedure is pricey, intricate and time consuming, however the benefit and ROI can be substantial. In reality, getting a skilled MMFLA and MMMA lawyer, like Fowler & Williams, PLC, can help streamline and simplify the application process, and take most of the work off your plate.

If you want information, or want to come in and discuss looking for a provisioning center license, we would enjoy to have you come in for a consultation.


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