State issued operating licenses to grow, process, sell, transport, and test medical marijuana will soon start to get handed out. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, also known as LARA, provided 6 News the latest application numbers. LARA officials say anyone who wants to be a part of the medical marijuana industry will need to obtain a state license, plus, get local approval as well.
There are two main steps. The first is prequalification, that includes financial and background check information. The second step for applicants is to then get local approval, or in other words, have a city or town provide applicants permission to operate within their jurisdiction.
Right now, LARA says 331 applicants have paid the $6,000 non-refundable fee to get their state licensing requirement started. LARA officials say many of these applicants have not applied for an operating license yet because they’re in the prequalification stage and still need to find a local municipality to accept them to move forward. 112 applicants have made it beyond the prequalification part for an operating license and they break down like this:
*42 are in for growers that includes A, B, and C categories
*20 for processors
*45 to operate a provisioning center
*2 for transport
*3 for safety compliance
LARA officials say they expect those numbers to increase, especially among provisioning centers, as local municipalities continue to find applicants worth accepting.
“A lot of the applicants have not officially applied yet for operating licenses because they are waiting local approval and to find a place to put their facility,” says LARA spokesman David Harns. “So we do expect the number of provisioning centers to grow.”
It’s worth noting that the number of state operating licenses for provisioning centers could be greatly affected from a decision by Ingham County Circuit Judge, James Jamo. He’s set to rule on the lawsuit filed by the group, “Let Lansing Vote” against Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope. They allege valid signatures to allow a ballot referendum to let the voters of Lansing choose how the city’s marijuana ordinance should be written were thrown away.
The current Lansing marijuana ordinance allows for “up to 25” provisioning centers. So far, more than 80 applications to operate a provisioning center one have been turned in to Lansing city officials for local approval. Some Lansing applicants are hoping Judge Jamo sides with “Let Lansing Vote,” which could result in the number of provisioning centers allowed to operate in the city limits to increase dramatically.