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State Licensing Step II: Location, Build Out, & Local Approval

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

If you want to own a cannabis business in Michigan, there are a few things it helps to know about the application process.

There are 3 main parts to the application process. The state prequalification application phase, the municipal application/certificate of occupancy phase, and the state facility application phase. The applications must be completed in this order.

This is Part II of a three part series on the application process. You can find Part I here.

The next steps to get your cannabis facility license can only be completed once you have found a location. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have any potential real estate purchase or agreement vetted by an experienced cannabis lawyer. Also the property itself should be reviewed prior to making an offer to ensure that all zoning and distance requirements are satisfied. Understanding local zoning regulations and how they impact a potential property’s ability to be licensed is something we regularly assist our clients with. Whenever possible, purchase agreements or leases should be contingent upon zoning and buffer distances being approved by the municipality.

This is where having a positive relationship with your local government is very helpful. Municipal application requirements will vary widely, and having the assistance of local officials can make this process much smoother. While municipal application requirements vary, you will always have to obtain municipal permission and obtain a certificate of occupancy - these items are required for step 3, the state facility application. Additionally, you must pay a municipal license fee which can cost no more than $5,000 per year, and the city must use the funds raised to administer the local application process. The local government is prohibited from using the application fees as a revenue source for the municipality.

You’ll have to get zoning and site plan approval from the municipality and change the use-type of the property prior to building your facility out. Along with attorneys, you will need the help of several other professionals as you move forward with your local application after receiving zoning approval. In order to get a certificate of occupancy, you’ll need to engage an architect to do drawings and floor plans, and you may require the help of specialized security contractors for certain parts of the build out.

The layout of the facility has to be 100% compliant with state and municipal requirements, and when we work on this part of the application with our clients, we are in direct and frequent communication with the municipality, architects, and other professionals as the drawings are fine-tuned for compliance and effectiveness.

Once you accomplish these items and build out your facility, you are in a position to seek your certificate of occupancy. Leases and purchase agreements when possible should be contingent upon these items being approved by the municipality. If it’s not approved by the municipality, you’ll be unable to operate a cannabis facility there.

As pioneers in the Michigan cannabis industry, we would love to help you in this process as you seek a cannabis facility license. Please contact us to start your licensing journey today.

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