How to open a dispensary in Michigan

In this article we will explore the current landscape of how to open a dispensary in Michigan, USA.  And what dispensary software, licenses and tools you will need to accomplish this goal, Let’s dig in!

Brought to you by MiCIA member Kayapush

Although Michigan is yet to achieve the same level of attention as some of the bigger weed-legal states like California and Colorado, it is still a smart move for any budding cannabis businesses to get to know how to open a dispensary there.

Since it became the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2018, Michigan has seen its cannabis industry grow exponentially. The state closed off 2021 with a record $1.3 billion in recreational cannabis sales and $481 million in medical marijuana sales.

Additionally, citizens have an increasingly positive attitude towards cannabis consumption. A 2020 study by Anderson Economic Group found that 1 in 5 Michiganders had consumed cannabis in the past year. These statistics make Michigan one of the more ideal states in which to open a dispensary, a process we shall discuss in detail in this article.

It should be noted that Michigan law also refers to medical marijuana dispensaries as ‘provisioning centers’, and spells ‘marijuana’ as ‘marihuana’,based on antiquated spelling from the The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The terms will be used interchangeably in the article. 

Can I open a dispensary in Michigan right now?

Yes, you can open a dispensary in Michigan right now, as long as you fulfill the following dispensary owner requirements. You must be 21 years and older and:

  • have not committed any felonies within the last 10 years
  • have not been guilty of any misdemeanors involving controlled substances within the last 5 years
  • have no local ordinance violations within the last 5 years
  • have had no past issues with law enforcement or legal violence, excluding traffic violations

The state cannabis governing body can consider any criminal history and decide against granting you a cannabis business license.

How do I open a cannabis dispensary in Michigan?

Opening a cannabis dispensary in Michigan requires strict adherence to regulations and requirements to avoid compliance issues.

1 – Get up to date on licensing bodies in the state. 

Things change quickly in cannabis, in order to aquire a dispensary license in Michigan in 2022 you have to understand the governing bodies.
What was once the Michigan Regulartoy Agency (MRA) is now the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA as of February 11th 2022.)

“The new CRA will pick up where the MRA left off – continuing to establish Michigan as the national model for a regulatory program that stimulates business growth while preserving safe consumer access to cannabis.”- CRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo, source:

To request a lisence, Visit the website to request a license through the LARA (licensing and regulatory affairs). 

2 – Obtain the right insurance policies.

Although the cannabis market has become more mainstream over the past few years, many still view venturing into the business as a risky endeavor. This is why it is crucial to obtain the right insurance policies to ensure the safety of your staff and assets.

Some of these policies include:

  • General liability insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Excess liability insurance
  • Crime insurance

3 – Acquire the right seed-to-sale software.

Through its Adult-use marijuana emergency rules, Michigan requires dispensaries to have seed-to-sale software or POS software that is integrable with the state traceability program. This is to allow businesses to carry out complete batch recalls and track:

  • Cannabis plants, products, packages, purchase totals, waste, transfers, conversions, sales, and returns
  • Lot and batch information of products

4 – Apply for a provisional center license.

With the above prerequisites out of the way, you can now begin the two-step process of applying for a provisional center license. This is kicked off by filling out and submitting the prequalification paperwork, a process that basically entails a lengthy background check. Then, once you have achieved this step, you can go ahead and apply for an establishment license.

What are the current cannabis laws in Michigan in 2022?

Michigan residents with state-approved medical marijuana patient cards can buy cannabis from medical marijuana dispensaries. To acquire these cards, they must have at least one qualifying medical condition. 

Adults aged 21 and older are allowed to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis. They are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent product at each transaction, and may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis away from home, and 10 ounces at home.

What type of cannabis retail license do I need to open a dispensary in Michigan?

The type of license you will require to open a dispensary in Michigan depends on whether you want to retail marijuana for medical use or for adult use. 

For a medical marijuana dispensary, you will require a provisioning center license. This allows you to sell marijuana to:

  • Medical marijuana patients with valid registry cards
  • Medical marijuana caregivers with valid registry cards

For an adult-use cannabis dispensary, you will require a marijuana retailer license. This allows you to sell cannabis to any adults aged 21 and up with valid government-issued photo ID.

How do I  get a cannabis dispensary license in Michigan?

To request a cannabis dispensary license in Michigan in 2022 you can apply through the Michigan government website LARA portal online.  Here you can submit an application for an Adult-Use Establishment, or a Medical Facitlity License. 

How much does it cost to open a dispensary in Michigan?

The cost of opening a dispensary in Michigan will vary depending on whether it is a medical marijuana dispensary, recreational cannabis dispensary, or a hybrid.
On average, the cost of opening a dispensary in Michigan can range from as little as $47,000 to $136,000.

A cost disparity businesses should be aware of lies in the costs of licenses for the different fields of the business ($44,000 for a medical provisioning center compared with $25,000 for an adult-use cannabis dispensary).

View this article to learn more about how much it costs to open a dispensary. 

How can you keep your dispensary compliant in Michigan?

The best way to ensure your dispensary remains compliant in Michigan is by choosing the right seed-to-sale technology that automatically provides reports, sends reminders on due documentation, and allows integration with state-monitoring software.

It is also crucial to have a good understanding of Michigan Marijuana Dispensary Laws

What is the track-and-trace technology used in Michigan?

Since 2017, Michigan has partnered with Metrc as its track-and-trace technology of choice to track and monitor the seed-to-sale cycle of both medical and adult-use cannabis in the state.
To manage your store using Metrc, consider using a POS solution that integrates with this platform to streamline your operations. 

How can you manage your staff and operations when opening a dispensary in Michigan? 

Understanding how to open a dispensary in Michigan is no small feat.  There are a multitude of steps that need to be taken, and ever shifting landscape that makes it challenging.  One thing we do know however, is that setting up the right tech stack for your dispensary is the best way to guarantee success once you get your landing gear off the ground. 

When you first open your doors, we recommend investing in an integrated technology suite that has the following features;

Integrated POS: 

An integrated POS system that talks  with both your dispensary payroll, dispensary workforce management, and your dispensary inventory management systems is paramount to help you run a smooth operations.

What cannabis POS system do we recommend?

These are the POS systems suitable for multi-location dispensary business:


This tablet-based point-of-sale system provides personalized shopping experiences from anywhere in the store. Employees can provide customers with a one-on-one experience while they shop. It’s designed specifically for cannabis retail. You can also use COVA to manage inventory and make sure everything stays in stock where it needs to be. 


This modern POS software is based on cloud architecture and has an easy-to-use interface. It can run on Mac, PC, desktops, tablets, and iPads. Flowhub is one of the top picks because it’s Metrc compliant and has a modern POS software interface that will help keep all dispensaries in sync.


Blaze is the iPad and iPhone dispensary POS app that acquired Greenline. It’s an excellent option for multi-location management, with barcode integration support and an easy, intuitive user interface. The offline mode is for intermittent internet connections, so you can take orders in areas where you don’t have access to a reliable connection.

Integrated dispensary workforce management: 

What is dispensary workforce management?  Workforce management are the tools that help you manage your workforce, aka your people.
That means anything that helps you onboard, hire, retain, schedule, pay, and keep track of your employees and their administrative needs.

An example of a great dispensary workforce solution would be one that provides integrated dispensary payroll, with dispensary HR, time tracking, and scheduling.  

Integration between these different features are  important, but equally important are the integration between this software and the POS of your choosing. 

Having a good workforce management solution that integrates with your dispensary POS allows dispensary owners to pull important metrics like live labor vs sales data – in turn, helping them run their business more successfully. 

What else do I need to know?

Opening a cannabis dispensary is going to be a challenging process, so be sure to acquire experts to help you along the way!  Having a great cannabis lawyer, a CPA to help you navitage taxes, and even a consultant can do wonders to help you get established in the buiz.  If you want to learn more about opening a dispensary in Michigan, download our free guide here!!

Writer Bio:
Tommy Truong
is the CEO at KayaPush, the cannabis software helping dispensary owners manage their employee HR, scheduling, and payroll. KayaPush also integrates with leading dispensary POS systems. Tommy loves hot sauce, fried chicken, and running with his Boston terriers.