Steven Kakos of West Bloomfield is already benefiting financially from medical marijuana, owning a construction company that builds grow houses for those licensed as caregivers, like he is, to provide cannabis to patients.
Yet with the state’s new licensing regulations for people involved in the medical marijuana industry, he anticipates increased business for himself – and an overall economic boon for Michigan.
“The economy is going to take off because of this, really generating a lot, lot, lot more jobs. Construction jobs, retail jobs, cultivating jobs...it’s going to boost the economy big time,” Kakos said.
Kakos was among the approximately 1,200 people who attended Wednesday’s medical marijuana education session at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi – the first of several that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is holding this month throughout the state.
The 3-hour programs, requiring pre-registration, are designed to explain the licensing process for growing, processing, transporting and testing medical marijuana, as well as operating a “provisioning center” where it can be distributed to qualified users. Product tracking, from seed to sale, is also outlined.
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License applications will be posted on LARA’s website, www.michigan.cov/medicalmarihuana, beginning Dec. 15, and consist of prequalification, facility license application, payment and background check. Application status can be tracked through the website.
LARA’s Sara Hernandez, one of the education session’s presenters, suggests that those interested in licensing start preparing now by visiting the website. “You can view the check list and accumulate the (needed) information so you are ready to go when we launch,” she said.
Hernandez also explained that people can submit the prequalification portion without the facility license application once the program goes live, setting the process in motion while the applicant finds a municipality that allows medical marijuana operations – which are subject to local ordinance.
Brett McMillen of Milford, another attendee Wednesday, said the earlier the better for cities and townships to enact those ordinances. “American people want legitimate businesses,” said McMillen, who’s in the business of accrediting testing laboratories for medical marijuana and other products. He also foresees the industry having a marked impact on a community’s tax base.
“The sooner Oakland County starts making decisions, the sooner it can start reaping the benefits,” he said.