Michigan has slashed the cost of securing a medical marijuana card and has taken steps to make the process easier for patients.

The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency has lowered the application fee by 33%, from $60 to $40. It has also eliminated a $25 processing fee for a criminal background check on caregivers, along with a $10 fee for updating the name and address on a card, adding or removing a caregiver or requesting a replacement card.

MRA executive director Andrew Brisbo said his team has worked hard to streamline the application process for cardholders in Michigan. “Not only have we lowered the costs, but we’ve made it significantly easier for patients to apply for – and receive – their registry cards,” he said.

The renewal period has increased from 60 to 90 days, while patients can now change the person designated to be in charge of their plants. Email applications are now possible and patients can now obtain medication on the same day they are approved, rather than having to wait for a card to arrive in the mail.

The MRA has also begun accepting applications for recreational cannabis licences. The state’s voters passed the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in November 2018, and it is now preparing to roll out an adult-use industry.

There’s a two-step application process. Pre-qualification requires a non-refundable $6,000 application fee for the main applicant and includes background checks. Step two is establishment licensing, which sees the MRA vet the proposed marijuana establishment, including business specifications, proof of financial responsibility, municipality information, and general employee information.

The proposed establishment must complete the MRA inspection within 60 days, and then it can receive final approval.

There are Class A, Class B, Class X, and Excess licenses for marijuana growers, while there are also processor, retailer, and secure transporter licenses, plus microbusiness, designated consumption establishment, safety compliance facility, and even organizer licenses up for grabs. The MRA has listed 17 potential reasons for license denials.

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