Michigan Marijuana Testing License

Does Michigan Require Testing for Marijuana and Marijuana Products?

Yes. The Medical Marijuana Facilities Licencing Act (MMFLA) and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) mandate the need for testing marijuana and marijuana-infused products. In Michigan, marijuana establishments that conduct laboratory testing for marijuana are widely known as safety compliance facilities.

In Michigan, safety compliance facilities are licensed to receive cannabis and collect marijuana samples from registered primary caregivers and other licensed marijuana establishments. They primarily test for contaminants in marijuana samples. Licensed marijuana safety compliance facilities also test medical marijuana samples to ensure they are free of potentially harmful levels of heavy metals, mold, residual solvents, microbes, and pesticides. The following are the test types conducted by licensed safety compliance facilities on marijuana and marijuana products in Michigan:

  1. Potency test
  2. Residual solvent test
  3. Water activity test
  4. Chemical residue test
  5. Heavy metals test
  6. Foreign matter/Filth analysis
  7. Vitamin E Acetate test
  8. Microbial Assays test (qualitative and quantitative)

As stipulated in the Marijuana Sampling and Testing Rule Set R420.305(14), potency analysis is performed on marijuana products to determine the concentrations of the following:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabidiol acid (CBD-A) Additional cannabinoids
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)

Does Michigan License Independent Marijuana Testing Facilities?

Yes. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issues licenses to independent persons and entities to operate marijuana safety compliance facilities. However, a testing laboratory must have at least one person employed as a laboratory manager who must have a requisite degree in laboratory science or medical science to qualify for this license. Currently, Michigan has six accredited independent marijuana safety compliance facilities. These third-party marijuana testing facilities in the state operate under a body known as the Michigan Coalition of Independent Cannabis Testing Laboratories. Michigan does not have a state-run marijuana testing facility.

What Accreditations Do Marijuana Testing Facilities Need in Michigan?

In Michigan, licensed marijuana safety compliance facilities must be accredited to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by an International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) recognized accreditation body. They may also be accredited by any other entity approved by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA). Typically, they must obtain the ISO/IEC accreditation at most one year after securing their marijuana testing license, per Rule 5(1)(a) in the Marijuana Sampling and Testing Rule Set (R 420.305(1)(a)).

Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 standards by a marijuana testing facility is proof that the facility's test results are accurate and that it has successfully implemented a quality management system. This control system includes quality procedures, corrective actions, organizational structure, and internal audits. Besides the quality management system, the auditor will review technical issues such as equipment calibration, traceability of controls, the relevance of the methods, and the validation of data. The 2017 version of the ISO/IEC 17025 standard includes the following requirements:

  1. General requirements - The two primary elements under this requirement are confidentiality and impartiality. Confidentiality ensures that laboratories inform customers before making any information public. Also, a laboratory must be committed to neutrality and should be able to identify the risks associated with it continuously.
  2. Structural requirements - This requirement speaks to the structure of a laboratory, its legal status, the identification of the personnel and management, and the availability of people to implement and maintain the integrity of the management system.
  3. Resources requirements - It is crucial for a laboratory to have the equipment, personnel, and support services required for the effective running of the laboratory.
  4. Process requirements - A laboratory is required to use the appropriate and acceptable methods and procedures for all its activities. These include the handling of calibration or test items, reporting of results, and ensuring the validity of results.
  5. Management system requirements - There are two separate options to establish a management system. These are Options A and B. Option A provides a minimum list of requirements a laboratory should meet. These include control of records, improvements, internal audits, management reviews, management system documentation, corrective actions, and control of management system documents. Option B gives a provision of establishing and maintaining a management system in line with ISO 9001 requirements. Option B may provide greater flexibility in implementing ISO/IEC 17025:2017 if a laboratory has already implemented ISO 9001.

How to Get a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License in Michigan

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency) (MRA) of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issues marijuana safety compliance (testing) licenses to interested entities or persons in Michigan. Such persons can apply online or use paper forms to submit their applications via mail or in person. The documentation required to apply for this license include :

  • Copy of government-issued IDs
  • Entity information documents - These include a copy of governing documents (such as bylaws and operating agreement), certificate of good standing, approval to conduct business transactions in Michigan (if applicable), and authorizing resolution). Others are a copy of the organizational structure and certificate of an assumed name (obtained from LARA Corporations Division).
  • Capitalizing documents - These include the CPA Attestation Form, Statement of Money Lender Form, and promissory note/line of credit documents
  • Regulation documents - These include a copy of marijuana licenses, a copy of any other commercial licenses or any comparable license from other jurisdiction, and a summary of facts concerning license denial, revocation, restriction, suspension, or nonrenewal
  • Litigation documents - These consist of a copy of a judgment or a copy of a complaint if applicable
  • Debt, insolvency, or bankrupt documents
  • Tax liability and delinquency documents

There are two steps involved in getting a marijuana safety compliance license in Michigan. An applicant can complete the first step before establishing the location of the proposed establishment. Generally, in Michigan, a marijuana license applicant does not need to have a business location ready before starting the application process. Anyone or entity interested in getting a marijuana safety compliance license in Michigan should take the following steps:

Step 1 - Pre-Qualification Stage

Any applicant entity intending to apply for a medical marijuana safety compliance license must complete the Applicant Entity Prequalification Application Form (AEPA) and provide the required supporting documentation. A sole proprietor must fill out the Sole Proprietor Prequalification Application Form (SPPA) and supply all needed documentation. Applicant entities and sole proprietors must pay a non-refundable fee (as determined by the MRA) at the prequalification application stage. Similarly, any supplemental entity (an entity that has an ownership interest in an applicant entity) must complete the Supplemental Entity Prequalification Application Form (SEPA) and provide required supporting documentation. Filling out a Supplemental Individual Prequalification Application Form (SIPA) and providing relevant supporting documentation is required of a supplemental individual (an individual with an ownership interest in an applicant entity).

For a recreational marijuana safety compliance license, an entity, a sole proprietor, and a supplemental individual should complete the following forms while also providing the required supporting documentation:

Generally, the prequalification stage of a marijuana license application in Michigan involves conducting a thorough background check on the primary applicant and supplemental applicants (individuals and businesses with an ownership interest in the primary applicant). The essence of this check is to ensure they do not have any disqualifying criminal convictions on their records. During the background check, the MRA will search the criminal histories of all the applicants on several state and federal databases. According to the MMFLA, any applicant found with any of the following disqualifying convictions or conditions does not qualify to get a marijuana license in Michigan:

  1. The applicant has been charged with or released from prison for a felony under Michigan laws, other state laws, or the United States laws within the past ten years. A person convicted of a controlled substance-related felony within the past ten years is also not qualified.
  2. The applicant cannot demonstrate the ability to maintain adequate premises liability and casualty insurance for its proposed marijuana business.
  3. The applicant has been charged with a misdemeanor involving a controlled substance, theft, dishonesty, or fraud in any part of the U.S. or been found responsible for violating a local ordinance in any state involving a controlled substance that substantially corresponds to a misdemeanor in that state within the past five years.
  4. The applicant has knowingly applied for a license under this Act that contains invalid data.
  5. The applicant is an elected officer of a governmental unit in Michigan, another state, or the federal government. A member of or employee of a regulatory body of a governmental unit in Michigan, another state, or the federal government is also not eligible. Likewise, an employee of a governmental unit in Michigan cannot apply for a marijuana license.

At the prequalification stage, the primary license applicants must pay a certain non-refundable application fee as determined by the MRA. However, supplemental applicants are not required to pay any application fees.

The prequalification stage equally reviews the financial capability of the applicants to determine and ensure that they meet the minimum financial requirements for a marijuana safety compliance license. The Administrative Emergency Rules controlling the marijuana licensing process in Michigan set certain minimum funding limits. Although the MRTMA is not keen on these limits, proof of financial responsibility is still essential and required. Under the MMFLA, the MRA will not issue a marijuana safety compliance license without an attestation showing that an applicant can meet up with the minimum capitalization requirement of $200,000. A minimum of 25% of this fund must be liquid to cover the initial expenses of operating the proposed marijuana establishment. The applicant must also show evidence that there is no lien on the asset used as the source of capitalization.

After completing the applicable prequalifications forms, applicants may submit them and all required documentation either by mail, in person, or online through the LARA's application portal. First-time users of the online application portal must register before they can proceed with their applications. Marijuana safety compliance license applicants in Michigan can forward their completed prequalification forms and supporting documentation to the MRA via mail to:

Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs

Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Licencing Division

P.O.Box 30205

Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 284-8599

They can also submit completed forms and supporting documentation in person at:

Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs

Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Licencing Division

2407 N. Grand River Avenue

Lasing, MI 48906

Step 2 - License Qualification Stage

At the qualification stage of a medical marijuana safety compliance license, applicant entities and sole proprietors that have already identified a location for their proposed marijuana facility can complete a Medical Marijuana Facility License Application Form. They should select "safety compliance facility" under the license type field on the form and provide all required documentation listed in the application form. The prospective licensee must provide proof of commercial general liability insurance covering the premises liability not later than 60 days after a safety compliance license is issued. At the qualification stage of a recreational marijuana safety compliance license application, an applicant must complete the Marijuana Establishment License Application Form and provide the required documentation listed on the form.

As a part of the required documentation at the license qualification stage, a license applicant must prepare and submit a business plan to the MRA.

A prospective licensee must provide information on the location with details of the municipality of the proposed marijuana establishment. At this stage, the MRA vets the proposed facility and reviews the business specifications, municipality information, general employee information, and proof of financial capability. A physical marijuana establishment must pass an inspection by the MRA within 60 days of submitting a complete qualification application. The MRA may deny a license application if a prospective licensee fails to pass the inspection within 60 days of the license qualification application submission. Applicants must ensure that the proposed property for the marijuana establishment is qualified for a marijuana facility under the chosen municipality ordinances and zoning regulations.

Also, prospective licensees must pass a Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) inspection within 60 days of submitting their license qualification applications to the MRA. As with the MRA vetting, failure to pass a BFS inspection under 60 days of qualification application submission may prompt the MRA to deny an application. Once the MRS approves an application at this stage and the applicant has passed the BFS and MRA inspection, they may proceed to pay the required licensing assessment fee. The MRA will issue an applicant a safety compliance license, and they can start operating legally in Michigan as a marijuana testing facility. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) provides instructions on applying for a marijuana safety compliance facility license online in Michigan.

How Much Does a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License Cost in Michigan?

In Michigan, an applicant for a marijuana safety compliance license pays a non-refundable application fee of $6,000 at the pre-qualification stage under both Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA). The licensure fee under the MRTMA is $25,000. For renewals, licensees pay $30,000, $25,000, and $20,000 for top, middle, and bottom tiers, respectively. The tier a licensee belongs to is determined by the number of tests they complete in a fiscal year. Tier ranking is done by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).

As contained in the Advisory Bulletin for the MMFLA regulatory assessments for the fiscal year 2021, prospective safety compliance licensees will not pay licensure fees, while existing license holders will not pay for renewals. All payments for marijuana safety compliance licenses in Michigan must be made payable to the State of Michigan. The MRA accepts payment by cash, check (cashier's check or e-check), money order, and debit card or credit card (Discover, MasterCard, Visa).

Are there Local Regulations for Cannabis Testing Facilities in Michigan?

Yes. While applications for marijuana safety compliance licenses are vetted at the state level in Michigan, local authorities do have a lot of control over who stays or not. The Michigan marijuana laws allow local jurisdictions to decide if they want to permit marijuana facilities. Each city regulates and limits marijuana facilities and determines city licensing requirements for marijuana facilities by providing for local licenses, fees, and regulations. They do this to promote and protect public health and safety and mitigate the potential impacts of marijuana establishments. Also, a marijuana facility cannot operate in any municipality in Michigan if it does not comply with the municipality's zoning law.

Michigan Marijuana Testing License
In this section: