Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2017
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2017 Detroit Free Press
Author: Kathleen Gray


The medical marijuana business is expected to explode next year when
the state begins to hand out licenses, and rules released Thursday by
the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs could prove to be
even more profitable for some budding marijuana entrepreneurs.

LARA said in an advisory that one person could apply for three of the
licenses -- grower, processor and dispensary -- and locate all of
those businesses in one facility.

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"It's something that we've had a lot of inquiries about," said David
Harns, spokesman for LARA, as people looking to get involved in the
medical pot business get ready for Dec. 15, when applications for
licenses will become available from the state.

The people seeking licenses will still have to go through approval
processes in their home cities and the state, which will include
background checks. And, if approved, they'll have to ensure that there
are separate work space areas, entrances and exits for each of the
licensed categories.

And they won't be able to apply for the other two categories of
licenses -- secure transport and testing of the medical marijuana,
Harns said.

The consolidation of the business makes sense, said Amir Makled, an
attorney for the Detroit dispensary Advanced Wellness.

"They're collateral-type businesses, and this way, the patient can see
what they're going to purchase and go next door and buy it," he said.
"Some of my clients have a much larger facility, and they'll be able
to put in a smaller grow area to use up all their space."

Jerry Millen has gotten preliminary approval for his Green House
dispensary in Walled Lake and is waiting to open until the state
licenses become available. If he gets a license to sell medical
marijuana from the state, he'd like to pursue growing and processing
licenses eventually.

"In a perfect world, dispensaries will start to open their own grows
so they can be more vertically integrated," he said. "If you come up
with a good product, why not dispense it yourself."

But they'll all have to wait.

At a meeting of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board last week, LARA
officials said that in order to start with a fresh slate, the
dispensaries that are operating now should close down by Dec. 15 or
risk their chance for a license from the state.

Some dispensaries, like Advanced Wellness, have already voluntarily
shut down so they don't jeopardize their chances at a license. Others,
like Millen's Green House, have their storefronts ready to go, but are
waiting to open until the state begins handing out licenses during the
first quarter of 2018.

"I do everything in baby steps," Millen said.

LARA still is developing the rules that will govern the medical
marijuana business, including the production and packaging of
non-smokable forms of cannabis, like marijuana-infused brownies,
candies and oils.

A group, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, also is
collecting petition signatures in an effort to put the legalization of
marijuana for recreational use on the November 2018 ballot. If that
gets before voters and passes, the medical marijuana business, which
is expected to generate $711 million in sales, would likely grow to
more than $1 billion, according to industry estimates.
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