Nonetheless, there are a number of Michigan municipalities that will allow you to legally operate a licensed cannabis business, including Detroit, Warren, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, Flint, Traverse City, and others. An unofficial list of municipalities that allow cannabis businesses can be found here.
Depending on your own skill set, knowledge and experience, you may also need to identify additional partners, employees, or cannabis business consultants. to help fill out your team. For cultivation projects, this usually means selecting the master grower; for safety testing, the right person to run the lab; and so on.
Nonetheless, until the cannabis becomes legalized or Congress passes of the Safe Banking Act, banking in the cannabis space will be limited, and expensive. Michigan cannabis banks and credit unions will generally charge a hefty due diligence fee, thousands of dollars in monthly maintenance fees, and sometimes an additional fee based off the percentage of total deposits. It is therefore a good idea to shop around and find the bank or credit union that is best for your situation. If you have a high volume business, you may be better off with a bank that charges a higher monthly maintenance fee but no deposit fees, or vice versa.
Step 5: Identify and Municipally License Your Cannabis Property
For cannabis entrepreneurs, that usually means they either need to self-fund their business, bring on investors or obtain financing from a private, non-bank institutional lender. Raising capital from investors is not an easy task, even with the outsized returns some opportunities in the industry can offer. For this reason, many new cannabis businesses prefer to start small and then gradually scale up by reinvesting their profits back in the business. This also has the advantage of making it easier to raise capital, since growing companies with a good operational history are much more attractive to investors than pie-in-the-sky start-ups.
It’s a common misconception that the cannabis industry is an all cash business. Every single cannabis company I represent, including both plant-touching and non-plant touching, has a bank account and access to most insurance products. There are now at least 5 Michigan banks and credit unions that will openly bank licensed, plant-touching cannabis businesses. Even more will bank ancillary cannabis companies, though ancillary businesses still have to be careful. Similar to banking, insurance is also widely available for cannabis businesses. As the registered agent on dozens of prequalified or licensed cannabis businesses, my mailbox is absolutely inundated with insurance agents offering insurance to cannabis businesses.
Step 2: Put Together a Business Plan, Budget, and Pro Forma
The answers to these questions will decide what type of company you want to form, how it will be managed, and what tax selections you will want to make. It is important that you put sufficient time and energy into this step since incorrectly structuring your company can lead to headaches, lost profits, and potential litigation down the road.
While potentially the most lucrative, plant-touching cannabis businesses are expensive to start-up and require you to go through an extensive and time-consuming licensing process, as outlined below as well as here.
The sale of 45 kilograms or more is a felony, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000,000.
Any conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension for 6 months.
Possession in or within 1,000 feet of a park is either a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the judge’s discretion, and is punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Under Michigan law marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance.
In Michigan, marijuana and hashish are punished in the same manner. The statutory definition of “marihuana” includes “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.” Hashish, hashish oil, and extracts clearly fall under this definition. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details on Michigan’s criminal sanction on cannabis.