Andrew Brisbo, director of the Michigan Bureau of Marihuana Regulation, with files from a single license application.(Photo: Jonathan Oosting / The Detroit News)Buy Photo
Lansing — Michigan medical marijuana czar Andrew Brisbo hovered over a table stacked end to end with two dozen bulging accordion folders and banker boxes containing thousands of document pages from a single pot business license application.
“They’re not all this big,” he said of the filing, “but this isn’t the biggest we’ve seen.”
The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, created one year ago under a 2016 licensing law, is processing hundreds of massive applications from entrepreneurs looking to join what is projected to be a nearly billion-dollar industry. The businesses are estimated to generate roughly $75 million a year in new tax revenue for the state.
Brisbo anticipates the first state-sanctioned medical pot business in Michigan history will win approval to open within the next month or two, but a licensing board has so far approved 12 out of nearly 460 pre-qualification applications filed since December. Businesses also must pass a facility inspection to obtain a license.
The slow pace has frustrated applicants considering major facility or equipment investments. It also poses a threat to existing dispensary owners, who face a June 15 deadline to go legit or risk getting shut out of the legal market.
“We have orders on hold and our suppliers are being very kind to us,” said Tim Schuler, a former wholesaler for Anheuser-Busch who wants to open a medical marijuana transportation company in Pinconning, near the Saginaw Bay in Bay County.
Schuler and a business partner applied for a secure transporter license in February but have gotten “zero feedback” from the bureau and do not know how long they’ll have to wait.