MARQUETTE, Mich. (WOOD/WJMN) — At midnight Friday, the state of Michigan started accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses.
The first application was submitted at 12:17 a.m., Marijuana Regulatory Agency spokesman David Harns told WJMN, WOOD TV8’s Upper Peninsula sister station. By 1 a.m., Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor was the first business to be prequalified.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, Harns told News 8, the state had gotten 34 applications for prequalification and all but two of them were submitted online. Of those 34, 18 included applications for state licenses. A total of three businesses were approved for prequalification.
Experts told News 8 that we could see state licenses issued within two weeks.
If granted state approval, businesses will have to get approval from the municipalities where they are located. Many municipalities have decided to opt out (PDF) of allowing recreational marijuana businesses. But in areas that are allowing it and already taking applications, product could be on store shelves in about 45 days, experts say.
One of the applications to get prequalification was filed by Greg Maki, who already runs two medical marijuana shops in Muskegon and near Nunica and who filed under the state’s social equity program. Maki told News 8 he has to wait for Muskegon to finalize its rules for recreational marijuana before he can move forward.
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While there is no limit to how many licenses the state can issue, individual municipalities can put a cap on how many businesses they allow to open.
But the process is pricey. The state application is $6,000 plus another $44,000 licensing fee. A municipality can charge a fee of up to $5,000.
Harns said there were no problems with website. His team came in at 10 p.m. Thursday and stayed through 2 a.m. Friday to make sure the first applicants were able to submit successfully.
As of Friday, marijuana designated for medicinal use may not be sold for recreation. Harns with the MRA said the idea is to make sure patients are taken care of first.
You can learn more about the application process and find licensed marijuana businesses near you by going to the Marijuana Regulartory Agency’s website.