Shock and outrage over proposed pricing for anyone looking to open up a medical marijuana business in Michigan. Applications will be accepted beginning December 15 and the costs to open up shop could be steep.
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board met Tuesday and discussed capitalization requirements. In addition to licensing and regulatory fees to local governments and the state which range from thousands of dollars, people might have to prove they have liquid assets of $150,000 to $500,000.
LARA (Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) is proposing applicants have the following assets when applying:
-$150,000 for a grower of up to 500 medical marijuana plants (Grower Class A)
-$300,000 for a dispensary
-$300,000 for a grower of up to 1,000 plants, $500,000 for 1500 plants (Grower Class B & C)
-$200,000 for secure transporter
-$200,000 for Safety Compliance Facility
There was uproar at Tuesday's public meeting in East Lansing where some argued the hefty fees will cut jobs and put Mom and Pop shops out of business. "I think it will unnecessarily exclude a lot of people who want to be entrepreneurs from participating in what we all know is going to be a jobs boom for Michigan," said business owner Ryan Shaw.
Others questioned the steep pricing to break into the industry saying it costs a lot less to open up a liquor store. "Zero dollars to go into the pharmacy business, $20,000 for tobacco, $50,000 for liquor, and they want to say over a million for marijuana- that excludes the majority of people trying to work in this industry," Jeffrey Hank of East Lansing said.
The Detroit Free Press reports board Member David LaMontaine questioned the pricing as well. “It seems to me we’re placing barriers to the marketplace,” said LaMontaine. “These numbers will bar minority business owners and mom and pop operations. These kinds of discussions lead to significant outside forces coming in and monopolizing this marketplace and I think that’s a mistake.”
However, another board member retired state police trooper Don Bailey argued there is plenty of money in the business of marijuana to justify the steep costs. Opponents of the costly fees are urging state residents to contact their lawmakers. The Medical Marijuana board could discuss the asset requirements at its next meeting in November.